In Defense of the Answer to All
Our inboxes are filled with spam these days, far beyond the material that ends up in a real spam folder. There are newsletters that I swear we’ve already unsubscribed, eerie private messages from politicians, desperate pleas for attention from Facebook, and now, thanks to the latest Gmail update that no one asked for, the judge (and, frankly, rude)) reminders like, “Hey Keith, it’s been five days! Why didn’t you reply to the PR who still didn’t realize that you were fired five months ago? “
But I would argue that rambling, endless group discussions from your friends and party comrades can be salvaged in this rubbish heap. Answer – everything must be protected, and not hated. The more threads the better. If you BCC your prospective barbecue friends because you can’t “trust” them lest they “insult” the answer – that’s it, think about the fact that you really hate these people and you should make new friends.
Of course, in the old days, we didn’t see the guest list – and this is still true for invitations to more formal events, such as weddings or proms, that were sent by regular mail. How strange. But when you BCC me and the event is like Friday night karaoke, it makes you seem suspicious. What or who are you hiding on this BCC list?
“BCC is the digital equivalent of inviting everyone to a party to tell them the same thing,” says my friend Sabina, who understands. “Just tell the group about it and let them talk to each other. Don’t be the social dictator of the BCC. “
I’ve heard the argument that people use blind copy to protect the privacy of group email addresses. But who are you protecting them from? If you are worried that some of your friends are improperly going to private messages to someone on your list, perhaps ask yourself if having unreliable freaks for friends is worth it. At the very least, exclude them from any future group correspondence and just refer to them individually for invitations.
Once you’ve established a creep ban policy, there are several good reasons to keep CC open and let your friends take part in it:
Email correspondence acts as a kind of pre-party
CC’ing is not only “the democratic email system we all deserve,” according to Sabin, but “the best parts of any plan come from the chain of letters sent with CC anyway,” she says. You are supposedly inviting this group of people because you like them and think they are fun and good at parties, so why not create a forum where they can comment and make suggestions that might even make things better?
My friend Dave, a passionate CC group mail sender and king of Reply-all, agrees that Fun has this all in service. “I think the answers to all the questions give people who are friends with each other the opportunity to mess around and create memes, and also allows regular email to go to strange places,” he says. I have received a large number of these emails over the years, and while I can attest that of course some of the answers are more witty than others, and some of these “strange passages” might be better left unverified, I am not that snobbish. that one dim GIF could violate the terms of the deal, which would make me turn down a promising invitation and never speak to a group of people again. I’d rather have friends who can get a little messy or obnoxious, in real life or online, than those who stalk me because I once emailed them a bad pun.
You will get more people
If you can get over your irrational fear of replying to everyone (which, when you think about it, is essentially the fear of receiving emails from your friends, that doesn’t make any sense?) Inviting to a party is simply practical for several reasons. Here’s one: It’s almost impossible not to forget to invite everyone you want to a thread. Typically, the sender will include a disclaimer, such as “Forward this to someone I forgot!” But if you send a Bcc email, as one wise friend commented, “How can people know who you missed if they don’t know who you invited?” Yeah.
On the recipient’s side, receiving a CC’d invitation can make the intended social event more attractive. “Personally, I’m more inclined to go to a party if I know what people / what groups of friends will be there,” says another anonymous friend. “Bcc email also feels less personal and is therefore easier to ignore.” Maybe you will be overjoyed when you see that your love is invited (and take the time to mentally prepare / get hung up on it for a few days / plan your outfit, however you deal with it) or a friend you haven’t seen for a long time. You may find that your roommate is invited and decide to go with him in the car or have a drink before the party.
You save time
Logistically speaking, sending a bcc planning letter can be a challenge. If you need to send more information or alert guests of a change in plans, you need to copy and paste each email address back into the BCC field, while all could be answered with a single click.
You save your friends from potentially awkward skirmishes.
When you think about it, making your guest list visible is showing consideration for your friends. This helps warn you if, say, your nemesis or ex-partner is in attendance. It is not good to close your eyes to people you supposedly care about in order to invite them to your functions. Respect them as adults by giving them the information they need to make informed decisions about how and with whom they spend their time. Also, if you use BCC to avoid the clutter of sworn enemies in a group email together, then how will you feel when they are physically in the same room?
Knowing who is invited also saves everyone from the potential awkwardness of telling a friend about the event and knowing they weren’t included.
To all the BCC supporters – or, as I like to call them, the enemies of disclosure – who quickly roll their eyes and start sending messages that this is the worst when people respond – all in the thread, I ask: Who hurt you, right? Of course, your friends might be trash, but don’t treat them like spam. If piling up all the answers really tires you that much, there is an easy solution: just turn off the stream. Don’t deny the rest of your gang the social forum they crave and deserve. Friends don’t let friends hide each other.