Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Netiquette IQ - Thoughts On Sharing An Email Address

The following post is on a topic I had not thought of previously. I found it to be very interesting. In terms of Netiquette, if they are is a sharing of an email address, the parties must be particularly careful and "in synch.                                                                                            

You and your spouse's shared email is about codependency, not cohabitation

Megan Carpentier

An email address is not a telephone number or a snail mail address. It’s a method for interpersonal communication between two individuals

Tuesday 15 September 2015 12.15 EDTLast modified on Tuesday 15 September 201512.31 EDT from
There is but one way to describe the feeling of looking at your email Inbox and seeing a message from a married friend who shares an email address with their spouse.
That word is “nauseated”.
Maybe this has been happening to you since the advent of Hotmail; maybe it is a more a recent manifestation of the terrifying trend of sharing social media accounts; maybe I’m just noticing it now because, for the first time in my adult life, more of my friends are married or cohabitating than not. Whatever the reason, it’s sick and wrong and needs to stop.
An email address is not a telephone number, it’s not a snail mail address and it’s not a telegram that arrives addressed to a family. Email is a method for interpersonal communication between two individuals, not two people (plus or minus the NSA) and another, separate onlooker who knows both people. If I want to communicate with you and your significant other, email makes it really easy: I can add him or her to the email chain with a few keystrokes and BANG, there you go, I’m emailing with both of you, as I intended.
But if I only want to communicate with one of you – and, if you share a joint email address, I undoubtedly only want to communicate with one of you, possibly about how your relationship is entirely too codependent and about this handy-dandy list of therapists I have compiled for your perusal – having a joint email makes that very difficult. (It also feels like making it difficult to email you about how terrible the other is might be the point of having a joint email address, which is so gross to contemplate.)
I get it! You’re a couple! You share everything! Til death do you part! In sickness and in health! But with the exception of that one wedding I attended in 2001 in which the officiant asked all the guests to make their own vows in support of the marriage – they divorced three years later – I made no such promises to your relationship. I would like to continue interacting with you and maybe even your spouse as distinct individuals capable of idiosyncratic thoughts and actions. I do not want to engage with an entity, like the Borg, that has no understanding of the first person. I do not want to be assimilated, and I wish that you didn’t either.
Plus how do you send emails to your significant other if you share an email address? What if your dad wants to forward you terrible blonde jokes from that weird dude at his job, but your spouse is blond? What if your mom really wants to get into details about what you can expect from menopause without letting your husband in on that aspect of her life?
Even my 68-year-old parents, who have now been married for 41 years, have had separate email accounts from that first moment that they screee-crackle-bloop-blooped onto AOL in the early 90s and were introduced to the wonders of the world wide web. If you have one email address for your household, you are literally such a gendered throw-back to a non-existent idea of togetherness that two people who were conceived before area codes rolled outhave less dated notions of the appropriate amount of relationshippiness required for lifelong partnership.
Having a joint email address is like having a significant other who, at your bidding, picks up the extension every single time the landline rings and listens in until he or she gets bored or you hang up: for the people calling, it’s weird and creepy and obsessive to hear another person breathing every time they try to talk to you. I shouldn’t be able to hear your significant other breathing on the internet; I am emailing you so that I don’t have to hear you talk, let alone breathe.
It’s 2015, people: joint email addresses aren’t cute, they’re not cheaper than separate accounts and they’re not fun for anyone else in your lives. If you’re still using one, you’re telling the world that you don’t trust your significant other and he or she doesn’t trust you, and that neither one of you thinks the other is smart enough to just get a private email to flirt with their exes.
If you really need to make sure that your significant other is in on all your conversations with other people, have the common decency to just BCC them on all your emails and forward all your replies. Give everyone the illusion that you have a grown-up relationship with one another and the internet while being privately codependent. The internet is as much about hiding who you really are as revealing it, anyway.

For a great email parody, view the following link:


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In addition to this blog, Netiquette IQ has a website with great assets which are being added to on a regular basis. I have authored the premiere book on Netiquette, “Netiquette IQ - A Comprehensive Guide to Improve, Enhance and Add Power to Your Email". My new book, “You’re Hired! Super Charge Your Email Skills in 60 Minutes. . . And Get That Job!” will be published soon follow by a trilogy of books on Netiquette for young people. You can view my profile, reviews of the book and content excerpts at:

 If you would like to listen to experts in all aspects of Netiquette and communication, try my radio show on BlogtalkRadio  Additionally, I provide content for an online newsletter via I have also established Netiquette discussion groups with Linkedin and Yahoo.  I am also a member of the International Business Etiquette and Protocol Group and Minding Manners among others. Further, I regularly consult for the Gerson Lehrman Group, a worldwide network of subject matter experts and have been a contributor to numerous blogs and publications. 

Lastly, I am the founder and president of Tabula Rosa Systems, a company that provides “best of breed” products for network, security and system management and services. Tabula Rosa has a new blog and Twitter site which offers great IT product information for virtually anyone.

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