Online Privacy and Tech Etiquette

Brush up on your tech communication skills and stay up to date on privacy so you can make the most of your smartphone, the Internet and social media.

Purpose & Subject

Make sure you are clear about what your email is about. Is it to establish tasks for a project, or to inform a group of colleagues? Before you send, make sure you know what you want out of sending the email and proofread for clarity. Likewise, make the Subject: field of your email clear.

Do: Use two or three words to describe what your email is about

Don't: Leave the subject line blank or use a vague label

To: & Cc:

When everyone is added to the To: field, it is unclear who needs to take responsibility for action. A good rule of thumb is to think of the To: field as being reserved for people that will work on the email or request. Think of the Cc: field as an FYI - people are added simply for their own knowledge with no expectation that they take action.

Be Brief and Positive

Start your email with a quick salutation, followed by the purpose. 

RE: Reply All

Be mindful when using Reply All. Ask yourself:

  • Does everyone need to see my response?
  • Do I need to see everyone's response?

Tips for Distribution Lists & Listservs

Try Subject Line Codes

Subject line prefixes can improve your email efficiency. Have your team agree on which codes to use so that everyone shares a common language. Some examples include:

RR: Reply Requested

AR: Action Requested

NRR: No Response/Reply Required

  • e.g. SUBJECT: NRR Agenda for weekly review


FYI: For Your Information (Definitely no response required, and may not be work-specific or even necessary to send)

  • e.g. SUBJECT: FYI A funny TED talk


EOM: End of Message, in which you write your very short message in the subject line and end with [EOM] so the person doesn’t even open the message, but simply reads the subject line and deletes.

  • e.g. SUBJECT: Weekly review is today at 3 pm [EOM]

More Helpful Resources