I just got back from a vacation where I had no internet access and limited cell phone use. It was nice to not be so connected for a week. However, I paid for it yesterday while sorting through over 300 emails in my personal mailbox. Many of them were advertisements, but a surprising number of them were junk for another reason.

I check my email a couple times a day so I don’t usually get a chance to see the vast number of “reply all” emails I get. I had emails from friends, family and teammates that were unnecessary. I don’t need to know if your child won’t be at practice unless I am the coach or in your carpool. When someone sends a group of people an informational email, you don’t have to send a single word “thanks” to the whole group! The only one you need to thank is the person who sent it. The rest of us did nothing to deserve your thanks. Worse yet, don’t send an email with just a smiley face made from a colon and parentheses. I am thrilled that someone’s email has made you happy, but really, it’s a big waste of time to open/sort through emails like that.

This spring, the head room mom in my son’s class suggested hosting a bridal shower for his teacher. She sent an email to 27 of us to ask if we were interested. I received 26 emails that said “We’re in!”. This is a perfect example of an email that could have gone back to the sender only. It was even funnier to then get another email from the sender saying that “everyone was in”. Good to know – again.

There are times when “reply all” is necessary. When a group of you are trying to plan something, it is helpful to hear everyone’s opinion. Or when the sender is asking everyone to bring a dish to a party and asks you to “reply all” to avoid doubles. I am sure there are times that “reply all” is required in business emails, too.

Bottom line: Please do us all a favor and stop electronic waste. Think before you “reply all”!