Imagine a telephone conversation ending this way: "I'll talk to you later. By the way, this conversation was transmitted by Verizon." Or in person: "It was great to see you. My fresh breath was brought to you by Listerine."
Absurd, right? So, why do so many millions of people allow Apple (or any smartphone/tablet manufacturer) to put a commercial at the end of every e-mail delivered from one of its devices? As someone who has been on a crusade to put an end to the "cyber brag tag," I have heard the following five justifications, all of which I will debunk with ease.
1. "I don't know how to take it off." Balderdash. It is not possible to own and operate a machine as complex as today's smartphone without being capable of doing something so rudimentary, or figuring it out after investing the amount of time it takes to get a money-saving quote from Progressive. If you can download an app, use GPS to find the nearest Starbucks or change your password, you can figure out how to remove the cloying message from your e-mails. Plus, in the eyes of many, you are not seen as a Luddite, you are merely seen as lazy, or as one article declared, a "cyber doofus."
2. "I am proud to own an iPhone/iPad/etc. and want everyone to know about it." Congratulations, you are a member of a club roughly as exclusive as Kim Kardashian bedmates, No.1 Dads, and judging from the obnoxious quantity of bumper stickers on the road, half-marathon runners. There seems to be a wanton, willing obliviousness in people letting everyone know all about the device they are using. People often claim not to be aware that their e-mails include these commercials, but that is hard, if not impossible, to believe. Apple in particular has done an amazing job of instilling a sense of urgency into the ownership of its devices and to "unintentionally" leave the "Sent from my iPhone" in a correspondence lets the world know that you are hip and keeping up with them, even if the music loaded onto the device says otherwise. If you disagree, then how do you account for the word "my" in these auto-signatures?
3. "I want people to know that my e-mails are coming from a phone because they might be brief and/or have typographical errors." At the advent of the smartphone era, this might have been reasonable, particularly with regards to the brevity of one's correspondence. However, a great percentage of written communication, via text or e-mail, is sent from phones -- well over 50 percent, according to a large communications company executive with whom I spoke. So, an apology for or explanation of brevity is as unnecessary as the annoying "Out of Office" auto-reply that is typically followed by an actual reply within minutes. If your e-mail is important enough to require an explanation as to why it is so brief, it is probably better to take an extra moment or two to write a better response.
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