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Gartner Analyst on (Non)-Mobile E-mail Etiquette (Inspired Rant)

A Gartner analyst and his clever rant on how reading your e-mail via smartphone or tablet is the New Normal, and why we shouldn't apologize for it. Rather, it's the times we're sitting in front of our desktop at Outlook that we need to be, well, embarrassed about.

When I think of Gartner, I think of high-priced consiglieres for CIOs or authors of sober-but-influential reports (though their recent mobile device forecasts have, say some, put them in the oh-so-breathless camp). I don't look to them for snarky rants - that's what bloggers (like me) are for.

Gartner VP and collaboration analyst Craig Roth, however, hit a nerve, with his blog post today, 'Not Sent From My iPhone.'

E-mail signatures like the iPhone's default 'Sent from my iPhone' were a small apology-by-way-of-explanation why the sender's e-mail reply to your 30-page memo/PowerPoint would sound rushed, miss key points, and be filled with typos. It also implied that the sender would send a much better reply upon his/her return to the office.

But with reading e-mail on our smartphone or tablet becoming the New Normal, not the exception, Roth suggests what you actually need is an e-mail signature for the increasingly-special cases when you are actually desk-bound, reading Microsoft Outlook.

I enjoyed everything from its thin-skinned opening - "I just happened to be using my desktop today and I see nothing wrong with that" - to its fake apologies - "if I didn't get every nuance of your carefully-crafted, multi-point missive, then it's your own darn fault...if my response is terse and doesn't fully address all your issues, it's because I don't want to."

Roth points out a real truth: while sitting in front of our "15 lb., 2 foot tall, 6 year old steel brick of a PC" and large, multiple screens should give us the ability to craft more well-thought-out e-mails, we aren't necessarily going to want to.

In today's Attention Economy, time and brain cells, not money, is the scarce currency of the Information Worker. When your smartphone is already conditioning you to treat e-mails the same as text messages, is there any way to fight that?

This is neither positive nor negative, it's just part of the same unstoppable trend why I gave up in-depth, 1,000 word+ articles for 300-word blog posts (well, mostly).


Have you changed your device's e-mail signature? And what about your PC's?


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