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Spring 2010

Email Etiquette

We had a request from a reader after the last distribution of TechTalk to share some “rules” for email etiquette. This article is intended to offer some guidance, but is neither comprehensive, nor a how-to document. It offers some advice to make you more email savvy.

Clearly Summarize Your Message in the Subject Line

If you properly title your message, it’ll help the recipients prioritize and organize their email. They’ll thank you for it.

The Dreaded “To”, “CC” and “BCC” Labels

The first problem here is that some users don’t realize that anything other than “To” exists. They send an email to multiple people, with everyone in the “To” field. This is confusing to recipients because they don’t know who is supposed to actually take action on the email. There are also the “did you see this?” email users. They’re the ones who get an email from person A. Person A also sent the email to persons B, C and D. But these people don’t look to see who else got the email, they just forward it on to everyone they know, including folks who already received it - this amounts to spam. Lastly, the “BCC”. Just like it’s not polite to give out a person’s phone number without permission, it’s not polite to give out email addresses (of course internal staff/faculty email address at TCNJ are all readily available. We're discussing personal addresses here). When you send an email to 20 people, and use “To” or “CC”, everyone can see everyone else’s email address. If you “BCC”, those addresses are kept private. Frankly, “BCC” should probably be used more often. It’s perfectly acceptable (and appropriate) to address an email to yourself (in the “To”) and then “BCC” everyone else. Especially if you’re emailing a large group, or sending announcements or items where the replies (or comments) will only matter to you, not to everyone else.

Reply All

The “Reply All” (or “Reply to All”) button is just a button. But it can generate a ton of unnecessary email. For example, if you send an email to a dozen people, you might get a dozen replies. Good. But if all dozen “Reply All” then not only will you get a dozen replies, but each person you originally emailed will also get a dozen replies. Spammy, no? This doesn’t mean that “Reply All” shouldn’t be used. Just use it with care and forethought. Beware, also, if you're replying to an email on a list. More often than not, your reply goes to the entire list, not just the person who sent the original message!

Stay on Topic

Just because we all work in front of computers, doesn’t mean we enjoy staring at them all the time if we don’t have to. Keep your message short and to the point. There are no awards for outstanding email writing. Many people ignore (or just delete at first glance) long emails.


Since it’s not possible (yet) to actually sign an email, many people sometimes include information at the bottom of a message. This is a good idea. It’s sometimes difficult to find (in the headers of an email) the name of the sender or their email address. So it’s not a bad idea to create a signature file that includes your name and contact information. (see below)

Have Patience

Email isn’t like a phone call. If you call someone, they pick up (or it goes to voicemail). Phone conversations are immediately interactive. But with email, you send a message and then wait for a response. Seems obvious, but people often forget this. Email isn’t immediately interactive. You could get a response in a few moments, in a few hours, or even in a few days. Too many users assume that as soon as they receive an email, they read it. This isn’t necessarily so. An example: If you send an email to schedule a meeting one hour from now, it’s a good bet that many folks won’t read the email in time. However if you send an email to schedule a meeting tomorrow or the day after, most folks will have a chance to read it. Unlike phones, email isn’t designed for immediacy, it’s designed for convenience.

Guest Wireless Now Available

TCNJ now offers a campus-wide wireless system available to guests for use at conferences, workshops, etc. All outside guests need to have an event sponsor who is a TCNJ Faculty or Staff person. The sponsor should contact the Help Desk prior to their event to request a guest wireless account. The Help Desk will create this account, and an email will be sent to the guest's sponsor. The sponsor is responsible for providing their guests with instructions about accessing the wireless network (see link below).

What do I do with old Printer Ink/Toner?

RecycleDuring printer upgrades, we often receive questions about what offices can do with unused ink or toner for the printer that's being removed. Office Max, our office supply contract holder, has a process by which they will pickup/collect used ink and toner cartridges for recycling. Simply call 877-969-6629 to schedule a recycling pickup. Office Max's delivery person will arrive to pick up your cartridges. It's really that simple. Cartridges you return are either recycled or re-manufactured into new cartridges. By returning your cartridges, you help prevent landfill waste, and help conserve non-renewable resources. OfficeMax accepts ALL brands of ink and toner, even if it didn't come from them originally!

icon How do I recycle my ink or toner?

(note, this is a PDF document which will open when you click)

TCNJ Mobile

In the age of instant communications, it is important to have all the technology resources available to you at your fingertips. TCNJ is proud to present to the campus community the ability to sync your TCNJ email and even, in some cases, your TCNJ calendar with a range of smartphones. TCNJ Mobile is a site dedicated to providing users the configuration settings needed to sync their Email, Contacts and Calendar with their mobile devices. Below is a list of mobile operating systems that can be configured with Email, Calendar and Contacts:

  • Windows Mobile 5, 6, 6.1, 6.5
  • iPhone
  • BlackBerry (email only)
  • Google Android v1, v2

Though some smartphones are not able to sync your contacts or calendar, most of them do allow you to set up email accounts by using IMAP configuration. Check your device's manual for compatibility. You can always access your Email, Contacts or Calendar from any mobile web browsers by going to and logging in.

Protect Yourself from Fake Anti-Virus Pop-ups

ID TheftToday out in cyberspace, as we use the internet more and more on a daily basis to check email, do research, pay bills online, or just browse, there are always hackers, scammers and identity thieves preying on the innocent, trying to find their next victim.

One way that they are doing this is by infiltrating your system through fake anti-virus pop-up ads or alerts that look real, and claiming "Your Computer Has Been Infected!" That's what some pop-ups and phony alerts will say, hoping you'll download the fake anti-virus software via a web page these alerts send you to. In fact, fake virus alerts often mimic ones displayed by brand-name anti-virus products. Don't Be Fooled!

Fake virus alerts are usually generated by a trojan, a program that takes control of your computer after you open an email attachment, click on a pop-up advertisement, or visit a particular web site. Sometimes the trojan creates "false positive" readings, making you think that viruses and/or spyware have infected your computer, even though your computer is perfectly clean.

Preventive Tips:

  • If a virus alert appears on your screen, DON'T click it: just close the window or tab you are in
  • Never open an email attachment unless you are POSITIVE about the source
  • Avoid questionable websites (some sites may automatically download malicious software onto your computer)

Your College-issued computer already has an anti-virus security application called Sophos. There is no need for you to download any other security products. The college also provides the Sophos anti-virus software for home use to the faculty and staff of TCNJ.

Interested in Software Training Classes?

Springtime is a good time to brush up on Microsoft Office features, Zimbra calendar/email, tables and other basic computer software! MS Office classes include Word (Level I & II), Excel (Level I & II), Access I and PowerPoint.

Word I includes basic features, such as:

  • Edit / Replace
  • Moving / Copying text
  • Headers / Footers
  • Margins / Page Breaks

Word II includes advanced features, such as:

  • Creating, modifying and formatting tables
  • Performing calculations in tables
  • Creating and modifying auto-text entries
  • Mail Merge

Excel I includes basic features, such as:

  • Simple formulas and filling cells
  • Moving / copying data
  • Modifying worksheets

Excel II includes advanced features, such as:

  • Calculating with advanced formulas
  • Sorting and creating tables
  • Presenting data using charts


Quick Links - Here are some of our favorite links.  Keep this handy for easy reference.

Help Desk

Information Technology

Instructional Technology Services

CD Burners / Scanners / Photo Quality Printers / Instructional Web Sites Support

Media and Technology Support Services

Media equipped classroom information


Zimbra Mail

Zimbra Mail Help Documentation

Security News

Other Links

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