I like to give people the benefit of the doubt and assume that in 2012 everyone who has an email address understands the difference between a “reply-all” button and a “reply” button. Unfortunately, I am discovering this is not the case and, as such, feel it is my moral duty to inform you all that reply-all can ruin your life (and annoy the snot out of me) when used incorrectly.
So, what’s the difference?
Reply: Sends an email response to the original sender of the email.
Reply-All: Sends an email response to all 28 people who received the initial e-mail.
And what’s the problem?
Let me set up a scenario for you:
Jim sends an email to the whole company, including me, your aggravating, lunch-stealing, once-a-week showering boss, discussing all the nitty-gritty details of the meeting I’m holding Friday that will likely cut into your lunch time. He explains that we won’t be having lunch during the meeting due to recent budget cuts around the office.
You, my frustrated, overworked, underpaid, reasonable employee decide you’ll respond with a complaint to your mutually disgruntled friend, Jim, about said meeting and me, your horrible boss.
You Reply: Message goes to Jim. Jim laughs. Jim responds. Your worries and annoyances are aired. You feel better to have vented.
You Reply-All: Message goes to Jim…and 14 other people you work with, including me, your smelly boss. You feel better to have vented. You lose your job. You are unemployed. Your dog starves to death, because you can’t afford food for him.
The Reply-All Button Ruins Lives…and threatens the lives of animals…particularly when used inappropriately. It would beheave you to take note of this Public Service Announcement. Thank you for your time.