The Magical Art of BCC in Email

Ok lovely… the title of this blog post is a bit tongue in cheek cause I’m all fired up at the moment. This one may be a bit rant-y because someone has just once again violated some pretty basic netiquette and I’m a bit grumpy about it.

Let’s start off with this one basic premise…

When someone gives you their email address, there’s a certain amount of trust that is exchanged. I know for me, if I give someone my email address, I expect that they won’t spam me, and that they won’t give it to anyone else. It’s pretty straightforward, it’s not hard to do. This is my email – don’t abuse it.

And yet…

I just received an email (along with 2 dozen others) from a well known local organization about participating in a volunteer program and THEY DID NOT USE BCC. So now, I have the contact details for 24 people (strangers) who did not consent to having their info shared, and my info has been given to them. One of which was even my competition, so that was interesting. This really upsets me for 3 reasons:

This is ultra basic netiquette

PictureShame on you. Grr.

…I’m talking high-school level.
In my career and exploration classes in grade 11 (back when email was just starting to be a thing and people didn’t know better as they were just learning to navigate cyberspace), when we talked about emailing in resumes for job applications, we were explicitly told to use BCC when submitting job applications. (I think they knew high schoolers would be too lazy to actually tailor their cover letter messages.) I’ve been out of high school for nearly 20 years… TWENTY and someone STILL doesn’t have this figured out? Come on now.

This organization teaches business skills

Um, yes. I’m not going to out them because I’ve already sent a strongly worded email (which fortunately for them, I didn’t reply-all to) but of ALL organizations, this one should know better. And here’s the thing – if they’re committing these virtual social crimes, they’re setting an example to people who are new the business world and may not even realize how bad that is. So then they go out and do the same thing and this cycle of bad behaviour gets perpetrated all because one person who should’ve known better didn’t follow some basic codes of conduct.

This is not the first time!


Last year I got this email that was cc’d to a couple of dozen people and then months later, some random person on the list was emailing that entire group asking for information that had NOTHING to do with anyone except for the organization. (He hit reply-all and went from there.) I get enough emails, I don’t need extra crap in my inbox that has nothing to do with me. PLUS, in the case of another organization that slipped up, someone ended up subscribing me to her email list and wouldn’t remove me after repeated requests and inquiries of how I got on her list in the first place. I literally had to reply-all after about a year of spam and say “Hey… I didn’t sign up for this list. You’re violating Canada’s spam laws – stop.” to which many of the people on her list replied saying how mean I was etc. I’m sorry, but it’s not mean to stand up for yourself after being spammed for a year without any response to requests for removal. She’s lucky I was patient enough to wait that long, that I’d given her countless opportunities, and that I didn’t report her to the SPAM police cause holy WOW the fines are high. (I have some other SPAM rants, but I’ll save those for another day.)

I get it… accidents happen…

People are busy… rushed… and sometimes they act without thinking. But when you eff up as big as this (and it really is a big one), you need to jump in and fix it. Apologize. Make sure it doesn’t happen again. CCing a large group of strangers in a professional context is a violation of their information, and it’s just all round shitty behaviour. So own it. Say sorry. Do better next time.

/end rant.

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