So many of you have weighed in so hilariously about the most annoying workplace habits that I feel compelled to expand with another: the increasingly popular e-mail signature. They began as simple text appended to the bottom of the e-mail, typically stating the sender’s pertinent work-related information (title, address, fax). Then they began to have some simple design element, like the company logo.
Lately, though, e-mailers can download a plethora of emoticons, images, even avatars with which to sign off. Companies like Meez.com let you choose avatars, or virtual selves, to affix to e-mail; Brightcast even lets you attach videos to every single e-mail. Read this fascinating WSJ.com article about the trend by Katherine Rosman.
I’ve got nothing against folks expressing themselves visually in e-mail; I figure it’s the equivalent of scented letter paper or kitty cats printed on personal checks. Okay, I’m not a fan of those, either. But whatever: it’s your stationery.
The problem is that when you impose your visual expressiveness on me electronically, it takes up precious bandwidth. My company allots us limited e-mail memory, and attachments like these hog up a surprising amount. When I get that notice telling me I’m over my limit, the first ones that go in the trash are these (note to PR people: don’t automatically send me attachments unless I ask for them, please).
So just to be annoying, I went to Meez.com and created my own avatar. It’s a goofy little thing that doesn’t really look like me, but it was fun and easy. But don’t worry: you won’t see the virtual me dancing around at the bottom of my work-related e-mails.