In the era of text messages, email and online profiles, all of our communications are automatically tagged with our identities. Whether by a phone number, or more likely a name programmed into a device that corresponds to a phone number, a name attached to an email account or a name, photo and an ‘About’ page that tells your friends more information about you than most of them know anyway, most communication we have with others in this digital life has been pre-announced, announced and probably even preconceived. So do you still need to sign emails with a salutation and name?
When I get more details, I’ll let you know what the next steps are.
Is it enough to just give the facts, the comments, the notes, the details… and leave it up to the reader to look at the “From” address? Or the auto-signature? When someone opens an email or a text message, is there any possible chance that they don’t already know who the message is from?
Certainly in ‘personal’ correspondence your acquaintances know who you are – even the customer service person who reads your email question knows who you are before they open the message. So what’s the importance of the salutation and closing?
Not too many years ago, when people still got letters – hand written letters – it was possible that you weren’t immediately notified of who sent you a card or letter, unless they put their name in the return address corner of the envelope. If you didn’t get that address introduction, you were more likely to start reading the scrawl or missive by instantly looking at the bottom of the text to see just who signed it… then you’d start at the top.
While I rather enjoy saying “Thanks,” followed up with my next on the next line, as a way of formally closing my interaction, more and more I feel it’s redundant and out of place. I often think to myself “Do I really need to sign my name? I interact with this person 10 times a week and I often haven’t written something worthy of a ‘formal’ closing.” Fifty percent of the time, I still add a farewell and sign (type) my name. I think it feels more personal.
So is there an official etiquette for digital communication between known parties? If there is, I’d like to know what it is. And why I should follow it.