Communication cop-out

With the launch of the new iPhone 3Gs today, the handheld wars are in full swing.  Lots to get excited about here, and you can mark your calendars: 2009 will be the year when the blurry line between computer and cellphone communications is erased forever.

Our habits rarely evolve as quickly as our technology, so we’re still acting like different rules apply depending on whether you write your emails on a computer or a handheld.

Apple and BlackBerry both include an automatic signature for all emails you send, an istant cop-out that says “Sent from my BlackBerry handheld device” and “Sent from my iPhone.”   It makes sense for the companies — free advertising — and while I can’t remember if BlackBerrys were ever hip, I do remember the first few times I saw “sent from my iPhone” after a signature, and I must admit it conferred a halo of cool for a few weeks.

But with iPhones ubiquitous and smartphones representing one third of global handheld market share, the rules have changed.  The  “sent from my smartphone” email postscript is an anachronism, as it’s saying “give the note I’ve sent some slack because I didn’t type it on a proper keyboard.”

I think this is risky.  It gives the sender the illusion that she gets to take shortcuts instead of remembering that every communication is a chance to build rapport and connection, and every note that doesn’t do this shouldn’t be sent in the first place.  Really.

(And if you’re going to leave on the email signature, at least personalize it.    The best I’ve seen so far: “Awkwardly typed on hopelessly tiny keyboard…pls. excuse brevity and typos.” )

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