Getting To Know Each Other by Email
If using the communication tool provided by the online dating service, verify that the service is in fact anonymous before you join in the fun. Some services will actually forward your email address with your reply so it is never advisable to use your regular email address. Instead, register an anonymous email account from a free site - there are several to choose from. If you do attract messages that you don't want, you can simply stop using the free email account altogether and register a new one.
Email handles & signatures
Now that you have registered a new email account exclusively for online dating, you are eager to get started. Well slow up a minute and consider a few more details. For instance, some email accounts will deliver your full name with your email message and not just your preferred email handle. Be sure to check your personal settings in your email software to verify the information that your recipient can view and make the appropriate changes if necessary. A simple way to double check is to email yourself and make sure your name is not revealed anywhere in the message.
Be careful with your email signatures as well. Many of us use signature lines for our personal and business e-mail correspondence that include our phone numbers and other contact information. Obviously you'll want to disable any signatures before you start contacting singles through online personals. This is yet another good reason to establish a free email account exclusively for the purpose of online dating.
Screen your messages carefully
You need to screen all of your online dating messages carefully. Outgoing messages need to be double checked to make sure they do not inadvertently reveal personal information or identifying information that comprises your safety. You will generally screen your incoming mail according to a variety of personal standards and expectations. Whatever your preferences, forego contact if you receive messages that are offensive or threatening. Screen incoming communications for discrepancies or anything else that makes you suspicious.
Expect many email responses if you're a woman, especially if you are an attractive woman that has included a photo with her profile. Fortunately, many of the top notch dating services online will allow you to configure preferences about the responses that can be forwarded to you. In other words, you can usually filter your messages by profile matching and limit the number of undesired responses to your ad.
While I would never encourage or advise rudeness, it is important to stress that politeness does not in any way oblige you to respond to any message that you consider rude or are otherwise uncomfortable with. Feel free to ignore them. If you are inundated with responses, practically speaking, it may not be possible to respond to all your email messages anyway. If you are a man, expect that you will not get a response to every email correspondence and be prepared to try another message elsewhere.