One of the best things you can do to help keep your network connections strong is to forward email messages. blog posts, and other articles to those you’ve met with in the past. It can also be one of the worst things you can do, depending on how you do it. Let’s take a look at some of the behaviors, both good and bad.

Good: A single recipient
Bad: Multiple recipients
If you are sending to more than one person, then you haven’t really taken the time to make sure that every single one of them really wants to see this message.

Good: A personalized note along with the forward.
Bad: The forward by itself
When you are forwarding an article, you should at least say why you are doing so. Even if the recipient ends up not caring about the article itself, they will still appreciate that you were thinking specifically of them.

Good: Useful information which provides value to the recipient’s professional or personal life.
Bad: Jokes or “cute” messages
If you want to have your connections view any and all incoming messages from you as light-weight and easily ignored, feel free to forward any joke or treacly poetry that you would like. If you want them to view your messages as something to open immediately, make sure they are immediately relevant.

Good: Professional non-confrontational information
Bad: Politically or religiously oriented screeds
I’m not telling you to avoid strong opinions. Just be aware that not everyone holds these same opinions. If you choose to send out information of a political or religious nature, be prepared to have chunks of your network suddenly not responding to your calls.

Good: Factual, accurate information
Bad: Easily disproved misinformation
If you are tempted to send along that Amber alert information or that warning about the latest computer virus, please, please, please, check your information first. I highly recommend that you do a simple search on the Snopes site ( The folks who run that site spend a lot of effort tracking down urban legends, rumors, and other stories that might not have a close relation to actual reality. If you don’t do this, I guarantee that someone (possibly me) will send a gentle (or not so gentle) correction.

Remember, the information you pass along (and the way you do it) could either make you look like a responsible, knowledgeable, and well-connected individual or a bothersome, silly, and confrontational light-weight. Please choose wisely.

My inbox is full enough.