A friend sent me an email message from his Blackberry. I didn’t recognize his email address and almost deleted it. The message was unsigned except for the signature “Sent from my Blackberry.”
I replied that I didn’t know who the message was from. But I guessed it might be him from the message content, and suggested that he should add his name to the signature. Seems simple enough. It’s a standard feature in every computer-based email client that I know.
He emailed right back that Blackberry didn’t have a setup/configuration that let him (1) add his name, or (2) remove the “sent from” comment. I don’t have a Blackberry, so I can’t verify that. But I will say that any device that doesn’t allow such a thing is flawed. More importantly, it causes a communication breakdown.
My iPhone does allow customizing the signature, and it’s not hard to do. I changed to my standard email signature—name, cell/fax, email address, LinkedIn/Twitter, and then kept the “Sent from my iPhone.” When people get email from me, they know who I am and how to communicate back.
Communicating means providing details that get the message across. To leave me guessing about the sender’s identity is not communicating—but I’m not really criticizing my friend here. If RIM didn’t offer that level of customization on the Blackberry, that’s bad. If they did and he can’t find it, that’s worse, because either the documentation didn’t communicate or the menus didn’t.
Now, in my friend’s case, since his Blackberry won’t do it for him, he needs to type his name by hand at the end of each message. That’s one detail he shouldn’t overlook. Someone else might not be able to guess who he is … if they don’t recognize abcd @ wxyz . net, they might conceivable just delete the message. And if so, there’s been no communication.