Net users seek personality

Silly signatures just a way of projecting a sense of individualism, it seems

Email signatures are the hi-tech equivalent of car bumper stickers and attempt to display a slice of individualism in an otherwise impersonal digital world. Instead of such witty sayings as "My other car's a Porsche" or "You smasha my car, I smasha your face" email signatures range from the downright stupid to the eclectic. Register reader, M Vogel echoed the views of many people when he to tell us: "Sounds to me like the kind of mediocre and pointless thing some people like to attempt to make themselves sound profound, and to hide the fact that they don't really have anything notable to say." But Dr Mark Griffiths, Reader in Psychology at Nottingham Trent University, is less dismissive and takes a more objective approach to the phenomenon. "It's just a way for people to project their own image," he said. "Just as they can be identified by the music they listen to or the books they read." He claims that email signatures are a way of enhancing identity in an otherwise personality-free medium. But his colleague, Dr Hugh Miller, a lecturer in Psychology and an authority on the Web warned that email signatures could be dangerous if used unwisely. "You have to be aware that other people may not comprehend your signature as you intended," he said. What some people may find amusing, profound, or uplifting may fall completely flat for another, he said. He also said that if signatures are used, they should be simple and informative. "Experienced Net users tend to use simple signatures -- and they tend to frown upon more complex ones that may includes pictures, for example," said Dr Miller. ® See earlier stories Silly email signatures come under fire Tire kickers slam Register silly email signatures report Silly signatures - the saga continues

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