I once worked at an ad agency that forced employees to use an email signature. And not only did we have to have an email signature, but we had to rotate in new talking points about the company into the signature every week. "Did you know that Sturding Pooper Raper Lice was ranked a Top 50 Agency by AdWeek?" I quit that job after two months. Never in human history has a human being looked at an email signature and been like, "Whoa hey, I have to hire that person!"
And yet, email signatures have somehow managed to flourish. I recently got this email from reader Gene about email signatures:
I noticed this more prevalently in college, but I recently saw someone with a Ghandi quote in their email signature block. What is someone's intention with putting a motivational quote affixed to their emails? Am I supposed to think more of you? Am I to associate that quote you stole from someone else as part of your personal philosophy? What whores.
Damn straight. There are only two good excuses to have an email signature, and here they are:
1. Your company forced one upon you. Most companies do this, forcing you to attach a digital business card to any piece of digital communication you send out. Corporations do this because they are evil and shitty.
2. You want people to have easy access to your contact information. Do you have your phone number and address in your email signature? REFEREE MILLS LANE SAYS HE'LL ALLOW IT. If I ever need to call someone and I never bothered to take down the number (happens daily), then I can just call up any old email from the person and have ready access to it. Ditto the address. That's all well and good, I suppose.
But often, people are unable to resist taking their vital email signature info and then loading it up with heaps and heaps of useless dogshit. Here now are some things that should NEVER be included in your email signature:
Your email address. You just sent me an email. I have your goddamn address already. Don't be an idiot.
Your alma mater. Oh wow, you're Dickinson class of '05? Good for you. NOW CHOKE. This goes especially for you active college students. Don't bother trying to present yourself a serious human being just because you put the name of your school in full and your future graduation year at the end of an email about all the ass you tagged last night. That means you, Taylor Cumberstock, University of California at Santa Barbara Class of the Year of Our Lord 2013. Double cockpunches if you include your major.
Your LinkedIn address. You got hacked and you earned it.
Motivational quotes. This is not a yearbook. I'm just trying to schedule lunch with you. I don't need a quote from Sylvia Plath constantly interrupting us. No one has even been impressed by a quote embedded in an email signature. They are the bumper stickers of digital communication. Speaking of bumper stickers ...
Political rallying cries. Congrats. You just outed yourself a HuffPo troll. I'm never emailing you again.
Colorful fonts. OMG! It's your name, but it's in RED! And in comic sans! Pretty spiffy!
A fucking jpeg. Companies that embed jpegs into their email sigs should be disbanded and have all their files dropped into a volcano. And if your company didn't force you to put a jpeg in there and you did it of your own accord, you can go straight to hell. No one wants a fucking attachment every time they get an email. Half the time, the things are corrupt and don't even show up. You are ruining the email experience with your stupid logo.
"Sent from my iPhone/iPad/Macbook Air/Steve Jobs' Gaping Dead Asshole." And, even worse, its sister signature ...
"Sent from [pithy modification to the Sent from My iPhone message]" Sent from your iBone? AHAHAHAHAHA THAT'S FUNNY EVERY TIME I HEAR IT. And don't think trying to apologize for your signature helps. "Sent from my iPad, but not in a snotty way (OK maybe a little)." You went into your preferences specifically to make that cutesy little change when you could have erased your signature forever and spared us all the trouble. YOU PENIS. Email signatures are worthless.
Image by Jim Cooke