Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Professorial E-Mail Signatures

The new PHD Comics strip concerns the semiotics of professorial e-mail signatures.

In general, I do sometimes wonder if particular signatures from friends or colleagues signify anything relative to other things I have seen them use. Obviously, one must consider the habits of the individual in each case.

I don't follow the pattern described in the comic strip at all. I either use my first name or I use nothing at all (I never use initials), and then of course there is a .signature file (which includes my first name) if I am sending something from my regular e-mail account. I never use something formal like "Regards," or "Sincerely," unless I am ballistically pissed off or upset at the recipient(s) of my message. If I use my last name or my formal title outside of what's already in the .signature file, then there is Hell to pay. I will sometimes write "Thanks," if my .signature file that has "Mason" in it is too far down from where I am typing (and hence I will actually be typing my name instead of using what is in the .sig file), and I only use that as a surrogate for writing "Thanks." or "Thanks!" when my name in the .sig file is immediately below. Hence, my putting "Thanks," in my signature usually doesn't indicate anything (though it admittedly can on occasion mean that I am mildly upset).

For my friends, I also mostly use my first name or nothing at all, though for specific extremely close friends I'll use "Love," as a sign of affection. (Sometimes I'll use "Take care," in specific circumstances as well, especially if it's a friend from whom I haven't heard in a while.)

(Tip of the cap to Mariano Beguerisse Díaz.)

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