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should cc be replaced by copy in e-mail writing, compose,  templates?

When you write an e-mail there’s normally an address entry box below the one marked to this box is consistently labelled cc in every software that I checked:

  • Gmail
  • MSN Hotmail
  • Windows Livemail Beta
  • Outlook 2003
  • Outlook Express on XP

The  consistency supports people’s ability to move between different e-mail softwares.   It doesn’t support virgin e-mailers that have never seen or heard of cc.    Everyone will be a virgin e-mailer, at least once 😉

Cc is shorthand for Carbon Copy.   Do you remember carbon copies?   Do the children you know have an idea what a carbon copy is,  or was?   Imagine you are a child,   learning to use e-mail.   Look at a new open e-mail can you easily guess what cc means?   Can you guess why you might want to use cc,   when is it appropriate to use cc rather than the to address entry line?   Imagine that you have to describe what cc means for an e-mail?   How would you do that?   I  suspect software producers  didn’t label it copy becasue copy has two more letters than cc and that takes up valuable screen real-estate.

I remember carbon copies,   in the US, the check (cheque) books still use carbon copies! Carbon dating,  rather than Carbon copying,   is probably more familiar to today’s youngsters.   Personal opinon,   no research involved.

Then there is bcc.   Bcc, Blind Carbon Copy introduces a whole new can of worms for both virgin and experienced emailers that I will temporarily turn a blind eye to, for brevity’s sake.

beyond a criticism of the use of cc within email software  my point is:

Software that  uses the shorthand acronym (or small picture; icon)  for a current technology (i.e. carbon) may enhance understanding of its meaning for the people familiar with that current technology but can have a long term adverse  impact on subsequent generations’ ability to learn what the label means and how to use it effectively.

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