In the wrong hands, e-mail can be a dangerous weapon. Do you remember those chain letters that people used to "snail" mail back in the sixties and seventies. Truthfully, you might get instructions to mail the letter on to ten or fifteen people, but that was it. Postage was prohibitive.
Now we have e-mail. I can't tell you how many of those odd e-mails I've received with the instructions, "Mail to everyone in your contacts list." Really? Com' on. What kind of nonsense is that? Half of those e-mails are crackpot spam or urban legends that have been circulating for years. How many of my correspondents do you suppose actually checked out the info in the e-mail?
At one time I would take the time to track down the truth and fire it back at the sender, but I'm just too tired and too busy to do so now. I just delete it.
I've been pondering for quite a while the general idiocy of using "reply all". In some e-mail programs, the computer traces every single address attached to that e-mail chain and then sends the new reply to all of them.
About ten years ago a story went around about a woman who planned to break up with her lover, but was delaying it until the New Year so she wouldn't miss out on all the goodies usually exchanged by lovers and so she would have an escort to the Christmas parties. She discussed her plans with a good friend. Then their discussion moved on to other matters--some of which were shared with the lover who was gonna get the heave-ho.
And yeah... he happened to scroll back through the e-mails and so was fore-warned of his fate. And that gal received a lump of coal in her stocking. He, on the other hand, found himself a new lover--before Christmas.
An acquaintance of mine was fired from her job (Executive Secretary) for sending a questionable joke to people at work. It might not have been bad if she had sent it to a fellow secretary or two. But she couldn't resist her own cleverness, hit the "reply all" and thus sent it to the entire administration plus the board members. I believe she was gone in two days.
Why are we spewing unwanted e-mail in all directions? What happened to good manners? If you have something to say, then say it to me. But there's nothing special in a letter sent to your nearest and dearest two hundred friends or acquaintances. Give it a break.