I am not sure where mobile email signatures began, but what was once a casual occurrence has quickly become widespread. I remember first seeing the “Sent via BlackBerry” signature and then the escalation to “Sent from my iPhone”, “Sent from my Palm Pre”, “Sent from my Android phone”, etc. Reflecting on these mobile sign offs that now seem so commonplace, I can’t help but wonder what was their originally intended purpose? Why did smartphone programmers include these preset email signatures?
I am guessing that like most moves by any profitable and growing company, it had to do with sales, money and increasing both. The email mobile signature was probably a marketing tool conceived by one savvy smartphone company as a free source of repeated advertisement that the competition quickly and wisely copied. However, if these signatures were merely a marketing tool, I would also guess that most people would erase or change them. Considering the number of emails I get a day with a mobile tagline, I have to think that there is something more to it. So why maintain the “Sent from” message? What does it convey about you or the email you are sending?
According to my husband who still carries probably one of the first flip phones ever created - no camera, no internet, lucky it can even produce and read a text message - email signatures are haughty. By the way, this is also the same person that thinks the best feature of my Pre Plus is what he refers to as its “Signaling Mirror”, practical for getting the attention of a rescuer in the off chance I am stranded in the middle of the ocean, lost out in the vast wilderness or maybe more likely trying to regroup in the mall.
For some, I have no doubt that they maintain their mobile email signature to express some aura of importance or as a sort of status symbol. When it comes to those users, whether they are a relative, friend or co-worker, we already know their belief of superiority without their email signature pushing it on us. To the extent others have even thought about their mobile email signature, I think it is more likely used as an explanation or excuse for a short reply, typos, failure to provide pertinent information or full answers, or some combination thereof.
For my own purposes, I do use the pre-programmed “Sent from my Palm Pre” signature. Partly out of disregard or lacking urge to change it, but also because I see actual value and purpose in maintaining this sort of signature. As a telecommuter and mom of a overly active toddler that keeps me on the move, I am not at my computer at any given moment like most office workers. Use of a mobile email signature lets people know that I am available but not at my desk. It helps them know how and where to get a hold of me. In the event that I am out of my house and entirely away from my computer, a mobile email signature is also useful if an important email comes in. It allows me to respond promptly with brief answers while explaining that more detailed information will be forthcoming.
So what are your thoughts on the mobile email signature?