Thursday, April 4, 2013

Remembering Roger Ebert with Some Email Advice

plaque honoring Roger Ebert
Photo by Zol87, found on Flickr, licensed via Creative Commons

Amid all the tributes to Roger Ebert I read on Thursday afternoon, I found a gem which relates to decluttering! Way back in 1996, Roger wrote his Boulder Pledge; the second sentence provides good advice for avoiding cluttering up other people's email inboxes.
Under no circumstances will I ever purchase anything offered to me as the result of an unsolicited e-mail message. Nor will I forward chain letters, petitions, mass mailings, or virus warnings to large numbers of others. This is my contribution to the survival of the online community.
What can go wrong if we forward these messages?

1. We might share bad information. Over the years, friends have sent me a number of warnings that were easily found to be false just by checking

2. We might just annoy our friends. Someone forwarded a recipe exchange email, and managed to irritate 19 friends. (Her mother was the only recipient who didn't refuse to continue the chain.) Things can get even worse if the message expresses political or religious beliefs that the recipient doesn't share.

And what about those emails with cute animal photos? Yes, they can be annoying, too — so we also need to be cautious about forwarding them, and choose our recipients carefully. As Carolyn Nicander Mohr explains:
The world seems to be composed of two sorts of people: those who love joke/cute/chain emails and those who don’t. One person’s junk is another person’s treasure, that’s why people have yard sales!
So let's remember Roger fondly — and avoid cluttering the email inboxes of our friends, colleagues, and family members.

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