I'm now stepping on my soapbox about possibly my biggest e-mail pet peeve:

Never send attached files with your e-mails unless you've asked the recipient if they're willing to receive them and notified them as to the format of the files.

In the same way that our mothers never taught us not to use cellular phones at the dinner table in a restaurant, she didn't know to teach us not to send unsolicited attached files to unsuspecting recipients.

Why shouldn't you send attached files to anyone without warning? There are so many reasons, but here are just a few.

  • Anything you attach to an e-mail can contain and spread a computer virus. Wouldn't that be egg on your face if you sent a devastating virus to your top client?
  • Not everyone is on a fast T-1 line, especially when they're on the road, and your attachment could clog their e-mail box, making it impossible for them to download their e-mails.
  • Not everyone has the same software programs as you and can't always open the file you send.

We can't be faulted for not knowing this Golden Rule of e-mail etiquette, but now that you do know, I hope you'll share this information with everyone you care about. Pass it along like a virus. Help me on my mission to put an end to unwanted e-mail attachments! Thank you for your support.

Aliza Sherman is an entrepreneur and author of Cybergrrl: A Woman's Guide to the World Wide Web (Ballantine Books). She is currently working on her next book and new company.