NWA-PCUG Newsletter Article, November 2012
Keep your friends
By Hewie Poplock, Director APCUG;
Vice President, Central Florida Computer Society, FL
Hewie (at) Hewie.net (click to email author)

When you pass on a funny joke or some information to several of your friends, I want you to do so without jeopardizing their privacy or upsetting them. I like a good joke. What I do not like is my email address exposed along with 20 or 30 of your friends’ addresses as well.

Every time I try to explain this to a friend who sends me an email as shown below, I seem to lose a friend. Maybe it is my approach, but they get mad at me for saying something about it. I hope that you and I can simply point them to this article, and maybe they will learn the correct netiquette for sending emails to a group.

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This friend sent an email to 37 friends, including me. He placed their names in the “To:” portion of Yahoo Mail. That makes sense. However, in doing so he shared with all 37, his list of friends and their email addresses. He also included the original sender’s address. If any of the 37 people decide to forward the message again, it will include all of his friends’ email addresses as well as the original sender’s. If one of their friends decides to do the same, all of their friends will be included. At that point someone can have quite a list of addresses to do with whatever they wish.

This is what concerns me. I am sure that you have received a lot of these forwarded messages. Anyone can take all of those addresses and could harvest all of them for some later use, perhaps an ad campaign, or some other message. It has happen to me. I started to get ads from someone on a friend’s email list.

Now here’s a suggestion on how to remedy that problem. Note the line below the “To” line is “CC” which goes back to the typewriter days and stands for “Carbon Copy.” Any addresses placed on that line will also be visible to everyone. So that does not help. However, there is a third choice which is “BCC” from that same typewriter period, which means “Blind Carbon Copy.” Anyone listed in the “Bcc” line will not see any of those addresses at all, not even their own.

When sending Yahoo Mail, that line is not visible by default, but can be easily added.

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When you click on the “Add BCC” button, it will add a third line to address portion for that blind copy. Then add all of your friends’ addresses who you want to send the message to, in the “BCC” line. When they receive the message, they will only see your address and perhaps their own.

There are several approaches to what you put in the “To” line. I always just put in my email address, thus sending it to me to verify that it was sent and each recipient sees my address.

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The approach is similar in other email programs. I will show you a few of them. If you use another program to read and send email, look for the “BCC” location. If you do not see it, check the “Help” area for that program and search on “BCC.”

Gmail is almost the same as Yahoo! Mail. The “Add Bcc” link is below the “To” line. Even the “Cc” is not available until you click it.

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Once you add the line, it will be similar to the other. Place all of the addresses in the “Bcc” line and use your address in the “To” line.

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Again, AOL is almost identical. They place the buttons to add the “Bcc” and “Cc” just above the “To” line.

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Follow the same instructions as above with your AOL mail.

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Microsoft Outlook is a bit more difficult to locate and add the “Bcc” to your message. The default may have omitted that important art of the message. The blank message will look like this.

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To the right if the “File” tab is the tab “Options.” Click that. You will the choice for “Bcc.”

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When you click that choice the “Bcc” line will be available in the message.

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At that point, you are ready to add your addresses, and following my advice above, complete and send your message.

In most of the programs, once you add the “Bcc” to a message, it will be added to the defaults and should show up from then on. My only other suggestion is to clean up the heading from the forwarded portion and delete the header containing your sender’s address. I usually look through the forwarded portion and remove any ads that may have been included or attached when it was sent to me. Get rid of the junk.

I hope that this helps and will keep your friends happy and safe, as well as keeping your friends. Just refer them to this article. Note: the addresses in my graphics are made up and not real. Do not try to harvest them.

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