Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Rant: send All

In yesterday's email I found this:

For the last 40 plus years I've communicated with my family and friends to share our fate and fortunes.  The numbers receiving this at one time topped 700 and has been whittled down a bit though the number is large and many share with others which is fine. 

Yes, it's the form letter in the annual Christmas card. Sent to "family and friends" which this nincompoop has mistaken for everyone in her address book. I'm not her family, and I'm not her friend. I'm one of the agents she queried in 2011; she's one of the writers who received a form reply.

If you would like to make sure that I never see any email from you again EVER, this is a sure-fire way to do it.

Send ALL is a disaster waiting to happen.  Your email address book saves all sorts of addresses and unless you look at that list and refine it, you're going to end up in this lady's shoes.

Send ALL also a sign of laziness.  It's a whole lot easier to hit Send ALL than it is to go through the list and delete names you don't need.  One of the things I'm NOT looking for in 2015 (or ever) is laziness. In fact I'm looking for the exact opposite.

Be smart. Send smart.


Ali Trotta said...

So many people just don't think. Period. And then stuff like THIS happens. It is the height of disinterested laziness, honestly, to hit Send ALL. (And please, don't get me started on group texts and group messages on Facebook. Holy gods, NO.)

Great post, Janet. :-)

Kitty said...

At the risk of sounding like a grinch, I think sending a Christmas card with printed labels AND printed names, without a single hand written word, is cheesy. And lazy. I can understand the printed address and return address labels. I know the Post Office is grateful for those. However, if you're sending cards with printed names as well, at least write something by hand so the recipient knows you are thinking of them.

Kitty said...

Merry Christmas!

Joyce Tremel said...

Send All is the evil cousin to Reply All which I equally despise.

Anonymous said...

Love this, "Be smart. Send smart."

When I worked in corporate America all of us minions understood email etiquette. Things like, don't go into long diatribes explaining your viewpoints. Don't rant. Don't use all caps(shouting), don't get into email wars with co-workers with a lot of back and forth. (Take it offline used to be a favorite saying for the bosses).

Send All was managed even more carefully. Many times over the course of years I saw a name (usually a boss or several bosses) who shouldn't have received something - b/c in it was a comment equivalent to "who the hell does Mr. Bossman think he is? He doesn't know Jack Shit." That sort of thing. Ooops.

Somewhere along the way, in the minds of certain individuals, the relationship between writers and those in the publishing industry became blurred. Some writers think of agents/editors as their "friend." The relationship, whatever it is that exists between Writer/Agent/Editor, should remain professional. Sure, if an agent/writer begin working together, over time things will loosen up, and conversations/correspondences might become friendly and friendships form. The only exceptions between writers/agents/editors should be blogs, like this one, where we can comment and get a little crazy, and be a little less formal. Within reason.

I know for a fact, her Sharkliness will zap a comment into orbit if it crosses a certain line. Even here, we need to know the limits and mind our manners.

And, personally, I prefer having a behind with which to sit on.

Ali Trotta said...


I absolutely dislike Christmas cards with no personalization at all. Write one single sentence and sign the card, and I'm happy. It feels almost perfunctory, otherwise. *shakes fist*

JeffO said...

I'm reminded of the Bridgestone tire ad from a couple of years ago--"You hit reply all!" We have someone at work who regularly sends things to people who shouldn't get it, complete with snippets of other e-mails that certain people are not meant to see. It hasn't caused a big problem yet, but one day, it likely will.

Merry Christmas, Janet.

Angie Brooksby-Arcangioli said...

The abominable send all.

I had to look up abominable so I didn't make a typo.

Google should captcha emails to those who send all.

Merry Christmas Janet, the queen of the blog. May your stockings be filled with Bowmore.

I had to look up Bowmore, too. Argh.

DLM said...

Our unknowing letter writer today, though, has been doing this for over a generation now. Email is not the problem, but the chronology does tell us this is not a savvy tech goddess.

More to the point, though, this is a person "of a certain age" who thought, forty years ago, that a mimeograph was a pretty cool thing, and ... still does, without understanding the changes in niceties attendant with the evolution of technology. Start with someone who thought all the world cared to learn that Little Jimmie successfully pooped in his training potty as a holiday greeting, by the time he's managing a team of drones at Corp-o-Matic and twice-divorced, we'll still be subject to the news blasts. This is a person who thinks that "MANY" out of several hundred strangers are excited enough about their personal vanities to SHARE them.

Thank goodness Janet passed on the Mary Sue or memoir about this special snowflake life. I feel incredibly mean and nasty saying all this on Christmas Eve - but, then, my momma taught me young that treating life like a press release would invite commentary that might not feel good.

Anonymous said...

Well, this is one agent who IS NOT receiving my family Xmas card this year. And I can assure you - we look adorable in our vintage sweaters....

Just Jan said...

Ye gods, it's hard enough to slug through Christmas newsletters from people I really want to catch up with, let alone from people like this. Can't blame you at all for blocking them.

Merry Christmas to Janet (aka QOTKU) and all the chum who celebrate this holiday!

Just Jan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Ah...I haven't sent out a Christmas card via email ever or lick and send in years.
This is my send to "you all". Have a happy flippin' Christmas. Now I have to go clean my bathrooms, got twenty coming in a few hours.

Susan Bonifant said...

I'm guessing those 700+ didn't want to see it either.

I have to tell this story of my own "send error" but I'll clip it as much as possible.

For years,I've sent my kids an annual Santa story to prompt a list in return. Each one tells about me running into my good friend Santa off-duty somewhere and exchanging stories of the past year. Last year, for example, Santa and Mrs. Claus had decided to renew their vows. The year before, Santa was sending one of the elves to rehab, and this year, he was planning to start a part-time job after the holidays writing verses for Hallmark.

It ends with a request on behalf of Santa to send me their lists.

One year,I sent the letter to the kids like always, but where I thought I'd copied my husband it auto-filled with the name of my son's American History teacher.

He wrote back, thanked me for the update, and told me that all he really wanted for Christmas was world peace.

It's part of the tradition now. Ten years later, I send a Santa letter to my grown children and Mr. Bickford.

Colin Smith said...

I've nothing to add specifically to this other than my agreement with Janet and the comments. Send All and Reply All should never be the default send option.

I do have an email tip that I don't think I've shared here. Consider this my Christmas gift to the blog:

To avoid accidentally sending emails either to the wrong recipient, or when the email is incomplete, leave the "To" field empty, and only add the recipient's address when you are sure the email is ready to go. Most email software won't allow you to send without a "To" address, so you'll never go wrong.

Happy Christmas! :)

DLM said...

Susan Bonifant, I *adore* that story! What a lovely accidental tradition.

Colin, I always leave the "To" empty, no matter to whom I think I'm sending a message when I start. There've been times I figured out I was writing to someone entirely other than I intended to in the first place - and, as you point out, it is the best safeguard!!!

Becky Mushko said...

So, you DIDN'T reply with a form rejection to the emailed Christmas letter? How about this:

Dear Christmas Letter Sender:
Your annual letter doesn't met our needs. The characters mentioned are not fully developed, the events—many of which are the worst sort of cliche—are not fully developed into a plot, and the tell-all fantasy/historical/memoir genre is not one that has any market value whatsoever. Please do not query us again. Ever.

Kate Gallison said...

Hey, Janet, have a good holiday.

LynnRodz said...

Love your story, Susan! Have a wonderful Christmas, Janet and everyone who's celebrating.

Laura Moe said...

Perhaps this a potential novel...Send All...Imagine the people the protagonist comes across by revealing her family news to strangers...
Oh wait. I may have had too much eggnog.

french sojourn said...

I address my cards;

"To current occupants"

My family never gets tired of it.

John "Ol' Chumbucket" Baur said...

Agreed. I recently received an email invite from someone. Inside I was told I was invited to her start of spring garden party, a very select invitation list of people she wanted to show of her garden too.
I had NO idea who this person was, had never heard the name – although I do get a lot of "fan mail" email, so that must have been where she got my address. She lived in a city just shy of 1,000 miles away.
I really wanted to send a snarky reply, but decided discretion would be the better part of civility, and simply deleted the invite without responding.
But MAN, I was tempted.