Too much of a good thing

Oh the “Reply All” function. We all know how it feels to be bombarded with emails from perfectly kind strangers, be they friends of friends of our dad’s, overzealous rec league volleyball teammates, college buddies, or, possibly worst of all, work cohorts.

Everyone hates it, yet it still happens. Why ?  As with many perplexing questions, I believe it depends on the person. Here are a few culprits:

  • Lazy folks: “I don’t want to bother so I’ll do this to be safe…”
  • Careless individuals: “It’s an email. If they don’t like it they can delete.”
  • Clueless ones: “Great forward Fran..!!!  I liked your shirt yesterday…etc.”
  • Self-important peeps: “My time’s to valuable to have to say this twice.”
  • It’s too late people:  “17 emails already…what’s one more?”
  • Enough!! people: “A small request: Please let’s not hit reply all any more.”

These are cases of people blurting messages without taking a brief moment to think about audience. They represent a step backward to days of one-way, mass messages. These instances are not sharing, but yelling, even if they aren’t typed IN ALL CAPS.

Together we can stop the madness. One company has taken a step in doing so.

Nielsen Logo


In December, the Nielsen Executive Council (NEC) held an Act Now! event to review suggestions from across the business that would eliminate bureaucracy and inefficiency. Beginning Thursday, January 29, we will implement one of the approved recommendations: removing the “Reply to All” functionality from Microsoft Outlook.

We have noticed that the “Reply to All” functionality results in unnecessary inbox clutter. Beginning Thursday we will eliminate this function, allowing you to reply only to the sender. Responders who want to copy all can do so by selecting the names or using a distribution list.

Eliminating the “Reply to All” function will:

  • Require us to copy only those who need to be involved in an e-mail conversation
  • Reduce non-essential messages in mailboxes, freeing up our time as well as server space

This is one of the many changes being implemented as a result of the NEC Act Now! initiative. If you have any suggestions on how we can continue to improve the way we work, please send your comments to Nielsen Communications.

Andrew Cawood
Chief Information Officer

In my opinion, brilliant!  Nielsen has not only listened to employees who are willing to join in open dialogue (regarding a company about which these individuals know better than anyone), but it has framed its decision perfectly.

Some disagree with the severity of this outcome; others have done the math to prove its value.

I’ll end this post by saying my friend at Nielsen is happy with the policy. And, he tells me something the lazy and clueless folks don’t know and don’t deserve to: “Reply All” still works at Nielsen. It just requires two thoughtful clicks via the menu bar. Seems only fair to sharers who care.



Filed under Case Studies, Email

2 responses to “Too much of a good thing

  1. Pingback: Taking it one step further… « The Sharing Cyclone

  2. Pingback: UCLA: Accountability for oversights? « The Sharing Cyclone

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s