Does being an LION (LinkedIN Open Networker) give you the excuse to be an idiot?   I’ve made some great connections recently via Open Networking, however, it has it’s drawbacks.

I’ve recently received a barrage of LinkedIN invitations from, well, idiots.   They may be nice people, but some people should never turn on a computer.   I thought that everyone knew that when you send email to a distribution list that you shouldn’t put everyone’s email in the TO:  field …right?  I mean this is like holding the door for someone 2 steps behind you.   Common courtesy.

So I am writing this post so everyone out there can use it as a reference to send it to (I really want to say stupid, but my wife has made me a better person) …the uninitiated.

Donato’s Rules for emailing recipient lists

TO: If you must, put your own email address here.  Some email programs will allow you to leave this blank and the recipient will see something like “Undisclosed recipient list” 

CC: Do not use this field unless you want everyone to see everyone else’s email address.  This is appropriate for small groups that you are working with.  (example: inviting a group of people to a conference call).

BCC:  Ok, sparky, this one is for you.  Stands for Blind Carbon Copy.  Use this for your big recipient list.

Why to use BCC:

1.  Courtesy.  Your relation or potential relation with each and every recipient does not give you the right to expose each and every person to everyone on the list.

2.  Security.   If any ONE person on the recipient list has a virus, then every single person on the list is exposed to getting (A) Spammed and (B) Having your real email address hijacked and used as a return address by a spammer.

How to respond to someone who includes you in big, exposed, distribution list:

-Be polite, educate them.  Don’t make my mistake.   I recently sent a scathing reply to a young man who turned out be to an intern.  He responded, very well, thanking me and letting me know that everyone makes mistakes.  I was wrong, and I did email an apology.  He was supposedly a “virtual” intern for Seth Godin… whatever that means. He was polite

How to respond to an Open Networker who exposes you.  

-Send them an email explaining the error and explain the ramifications of their actions.  Ask for a reply to verify receipt of your message.  If they do not respond at all, immediately remove them from your social network.  If they respond poorly,  send an email (BCC of course) to every person on the original recipient list.  Explain the situation.  Include in the email you sent, (1) the rules of engagement (2) Your original response and (3) their response.    I’ve only done this twice.  Talk about virtual high-fives!