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Words matter, and the word "blast" when used to describe an email mailing implies something significantly less than respect for your recipients.

I mentioned to someone that as part of my business I was going to send out an email blast. It's a term I'd heard before, but my friend got quite upset at my use of it. Why?

I'm with your friend; vehemently so in fact.

"Email blast" is terminology - and a way of thinking - that should be avoided.

Why?

Well, here's a clue: spammers "blast" email.

You shouldn't.

Words Matter

When you "blast" email to any group of people it implies a shotgun approach of sending lots of email messages without concern for the recipients.

Most importantly, it implies a lack of respect of the recipients time and inbox.

"Even if you never use the word blast anywhere but in your head, stop using it."

Now, you may object saying that of course you respect them. They're confirmed double-opt-in and all the other good stuff that says they wanted to get email from you.

Fine. Then use more respectful terminology.

Respect Your Recipients

In this all-too-spam-filled-world one thing that can increase your reputation and increase the relationship you have with whomever you might send emails to is to always be respectful of your intended recipients.

Don't "blast" them; that's a cheap relationship.

Send to them. Talk to them. Communicate with them. Engage them. Have conversations with them.

Even if you never use the word blast anywhere but in your head, stop using it. Use words that will reinforce the fact that these people gave you something very valuable - permission to send them email on a regular basis.

Value them for it. Respect them for it.

Don't "blast" them because of it.

Article C4700 - January 9, 2011 « »

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Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

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5 Comments
Mary Lou
January 12, 2011 8:12 AM

Just my opinion: There are some instances where email "blasts" could be beneficial. For instance, a large university (ours has a 29,500 enrollment, staff of 10,000) could send email blasts to warn students and staff of danger (i.e. shootings on campus,), class closings due to weather conditions, etc.

Don't call it a blast - look at the article to see what that term implies. A message to your student body warning of a danger can be a legitimate, respectful means of communicating something important. I'd never call it a "blast".
Leo
13-Jan-2011

Barry Karas
January 12, 2011 9:09 AM

01-12-2011

E-mail messages are very inexpensive to send. As long as they are, there will continue to be junk e-mail.

Stafford
January 12, 2011 2:43 PM

I agree with you Leo, respect for technology is very important. "blast" comes from people who have only ever eaten McDonalds and drunk Coke, it messes with their brains.

Kaye Maserang
January 15, 2011 10:08 AM

I write a blog for the members of my church as a newsletter that keeps them current on what's happening at church. I also have a group of friends and family who like to read the blog. I have divided my recipients into 2 groups: Blog Followers and Blog Followers 2, with 55 people in the first one and 20 in the second one. When I send out a "new post" alert, all the recipients are placed in the BCC line, and only ny own name appears in the From and To lines. From time to time, I also include a message telling them that if they want to be removed from my mailing list, just contact me at...and I do remove them promptly. Admittedly, these are small lists, but it works. I even have a "fan club" (unofficial) at my church for coming up with this idea.

Phil
May 5, 2011 4:57 PM

When I hear the term "e-mail blast" I get the impression of something akin to explosive diarrhea. I goes all over and stinks to high heaven.

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