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Chapter 25. You've Got Mail! > Bits and Bytes - Pg. 290

You've Got Mail! Snail mail is a scornful term for traditional letters, a slam at their lack of speed. 290 9. Edit and proofread.As with any written communication, e-mail can become a legal document. Therefore, before you send your message, review it carefully to make sure it conveys your precise meaning and is free of errors in grammar, spelling, punctuation, and usage. 10. Always sign your e-mail.Never assume that your recipient knows your identity from your screen name. Write Angles Double-check the address before you click that "send" button. To prevent misdirected e-mail, enter frequently used addresses in your address book. Or, copy and paste an address from a previous message into your address book. Special Delivery While the writing process for e-mail is the same as that for snail mail there are some special con- ventions for e-mail not used in other forms of written communication. First of all, most e-mail is sent in ASCII unformatted text. As a result, you can't use italics or boldface to show emphasis. To show that a text should be italicized or boldfaced, surround the word(s) with underscore marks or asterisks. For example: · Men are from Earth. Women are from Earth. __Deal with it.__ · Shakespeare invented the words *assassination* and *bump.* Second, before you send any attached file, ask your correspondents if they can accept it. If not, you can copy the attachment and paste it into your e-mail, provided that it isn't too long. Private Eyes When you send e-mail, remember that its content is harder to keep private than traditional mail. You can make an online communication secure by encryption (coding), but once your recipients decode the document, they might forward it to anyone else on the Internet. This can happen accidentally as well as intentionally. As a result, consider every e-mail message--even private ones--as potentially public documents that can be accessed by anyone. Therefore, never e-mail any message that you wouldn't want everyone to read. Consider this a variation of your mother's sage advice, "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all." Now, let's explore the "culture" of cyberspace and the system of manners that governs it.