I saw an interesting article on using BCC on Microsoft’s Outlook blog. I am sure most readers know about BCC but when should you use BCC? Here’s what we think.
Firstly… what is BCC?
BCC stands for blind carbon. People that you BCC on an email will receive the email but their names will not be visible to other recipients of the same email i.e. the other recipients will not know that the BCCed person also received a copy of the email.
Recommended Uses of BCC
- Hide one or more recipients from others: You may need to send a copy of the email to someone without the other recipients knowing about it.
- Prevent Reply-to-All Storms: You may choose to BCC many people on an email if they do need to discuss the email further amongst themselves. Using BCC instead of CC means that everyone can’t get involved in unnecessary discussions or have to receive useless one-word emails like thank you or ok.
- Circulate Jokes: I know that many people do not recommend circulating jokes but some jokes just are too good to keep to yourself. Unless you are forwarding the joke to a close group of friends and want further comments to follow, email the joke to yourself and BCC everyone else.
Not Recommended Uses of BCC:
- Putting down your colleagues: Don’t BCC management on a conversation to show that you are doing your work well while others are slacking off. If you need to complain about someone, don’t be sneaky about it.
- Sending out sales or marketing newsletters. If you use the BCC to send to people you don’t know well, your email just looks like SPAM. Use something like Email Merge for Outlook instead.
Replying to a BCCed email
Before you reply to your next email, check to see if you were BCCed (does your name appear in the To or CC fields). If not, than the email was addressed to multiple people, think twice before replying!
Why were you BCCed? Does the sender want to hide from the others that you were sent a copy of the email too?
If you reply-to-all on an email that you were BCCed on then the secret is out. Everyone knows that you received the email as well.
If you get BCCed on a lot of emails then you may want to use something like Reply Guard for Outlook… which will warn you anytime you try and reply-to-all an email that you were BCCed on.
Please share you own ideas of using BCC by leaving a comment on the blog.