Proper Subject Field Use
A site visitor emailed me about a person they communicate with who puts the entire content of their email in the Subject: field. They use the Subject filed for long winded questions or statements. If you open the email — nothing there.
What doesn’t this mean? What should we do!?
I communicate with a few folks who do this as well. These folks tend to be technophobes or to be honest are just plain lazy when it comes to their email use. For them it is easier to just type their question in the Subject: field and hit Send. Wow — just imagine all that time saved not having to move your cursor to the body of the email!
They also don’t have to make the effort to reflect basic courtesies. They can avoid all the keystrokes involved in typing a greeting, closing or let’s be honest — a coherent message. Sadly, this approach leads to misunderstandings and unnecessary emails that request clarification. One could say that by not using the Subject: field properly you could be viewed as an email PIA.
It’s Not Just About Being Lazy
When their use of the Subject: field is mentioned, some just blow it off or think it to be a trivial issue. Is this the epitome of lazy? Why else would they be so resistant to doing things the right way? They don’t call it the Message: field — it’s the Subject: field!
Okay, let’s forget about proper use and courtesy for a moment. There are other negative ramifications of sending an email with no content in the body of the email. Primarily is that one risks their emails getting blocked or sent right to Trash. Spammers send empty emails to check the validity of addresses on their list. Blank messages are one of many spam filtering red flags that networks and software use to block suspicious emails.
So, is having your email misidentified as spam and blocked or sent right to Trash an incentive to use the Subject: field properly? For some it may not be…
By continuing to place content where it does not belong, these folks risk their emails not getting through or responded to. Can’t respond to what you don’t receive!
Short and Sweet
The Subject: field should include a brief and concise description of the contents of the email — not the entire message. That’s simply how email works.
sub·ject | n: that which forms a basic matter of thought, discussion, investigation, etc.: a subject of conversation.
Using the Subject field properly is just one part of Email Etiquette. This effort shows you want to make communicating with you a pleasant experience.
Now that you’ve been advised of the right way to use the Subject: field, use it properly. You don’t want to be seen as showing a total disregard for understanding technology do you?
Use the Subject: for what it is meant and you can avoid these unfavorable perceptions. All the while becoming a person that is more enjoyable to communicate with. Continue to disregard the proper use of the Subject: field and don’t be surprised if those you email, (after cringing when seeing your name in their inbox) may choose (if your email is not blocked as spammy), not to reply.