Broadcast Barrage: Too many emails

by epi on November 1, 2011

Q: I have a large extended family, and my relatives often write me individual e-mails.  I’m too busy to reply to all of them separately- can I reply with a mass e-mail?

A: It’s OK.  No doubt you have relatives who will be hurt or maybe even offended by an e-mail blast to the clan.  Still, I’d rather receive something than have no word at all from a family member I’d e-mailed or written.  If, for example, your cousin is writing about her love life or job search, she merits an individual response.  You could also ditch e-mail and call her when you have a moment.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Cynthia McCabe February 28, 2013 at 8:54 am

My question is about using the “reply to all” option. We received an email from our admin team about how slow our computers are and that they are working on it. One of my colleages replied to all stating that the situation is unacceptable. We are expected to use technology in our classrooms yet it takes 15 minutes to open 1 document. I then replied to all and address it to my colleage saying thanks for sharing the frustration that many of us feel.

Today I received an email from my admin stating that reply to all for purposes of “venting” is unprofessional and will not be tolerated.

My question: Is this unprofessional. We did not single anyone person out, we are in education and the lack of technnolgy tremendously hinders us from doing our job in the way we are expected to do our job.

Please advise.


Winifred Rosenburg February 28, 2013 at 3:18 pm

Reply to All should be used with caution. Before sending, you should ask yourself if what you’re writing is relevent to all. If not, you are needlessly cluttering people’s email and in some cases needlessly embarrassing someone. Not being familiar with your workplace dynamics or who else was included in this email, I can’t say for sure if what you did was rude. I would say a complaint email should be only sent to those who are in a position to fix what you are complaining about and those who you see a purpose in being aware of your complaint (e.g. your supervisor in case someone approaches your supervisor about your complaint). Delete any other email addresses from the To field before sending.


Alicia February 28, 2013 at 4:20 pm

Yes it was unprofessional. Basically the first person publicly whined about the computers and you not only congratulated them for complaining to the crowd but joined in. Had you or they spoken directly with the IT folks or your boss it would not have been unprofessional but the manner in which it was done was unprofessional. Think about the person most disconnected from you on that email. Would you have complained directly to them about the admins failing to do their job and the bad computers? Probably not. But you e-complained about it to them and yes that was rather poorly done.
Generally it s unprofessional to congratulate someone for just complaining( as opposed to offering a solution) and also bad form to complain semi publicly without offering a solution.


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