“Sent from my iPhone”, “Sent using BlackBerry”. Why am I beginning to dislike those little tags at the bottom of email responses?
Because there’s an implied apology built into them. In longhand, I think they say “I know there may be typos or I may have been a bit terse, but gimme some credit. I’m typing this on 5mm keys with my thumbs while waiting for my sushi, so be happy I triaged your email to be important enough to respond to right away instead of making you wait until tomorrow when it might get lost in my email pile. Gotta go … mmm, this food looks delicious …”
In fact, one email I received had modified that tagline to read “Sent via blackberry please excuse any typos.” (note the built-in irony of the missing capitalization, comma, and word ‘so’. She may as well have misspelled it “tipos” to make the irony complete)
First, let me get the counterfactuals out of the way. I realize there are benefits to me as a receiver to getting quicker responses. And boiling all the fluff away from emails and just dumping the answer can save us both a lot of time. And I do care about the sender’s work/life balance and realize careful consideration and crafting of a response to my email may not be as important to them as it is to me.
But I still find an increasing proportion of instances where that signature follows an email that is annoyingly short on details and fails to form a connection. For example, I may have brought up a complex issue and just had one minor part of it responded to.
On my team we study the trends impacting collaboration, content, and software-based communication. One of those trends is a move from email to other communication methods such as blogging, microblogging (ala Twitter), document libraries, text messaging, instant messaging, and collaboration room postings. But what I am talking about here is that a familiar communication channel – email – is being used as if it was text messaging.
Senior citizens gripe about how no one sits down to hand write a real letter anymore – we all just use email. I’m of the next generation that is beginning to gripe that no one sits down anymore to type a real email – we all just tap out prompts and answers.
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