This is a long standing pet-peeve of mine.
I love getting email from my friends and colleagues, but how much of the content has meaningful value?
You get an email from a colleague and the message thread goes backward and forwards something like this
Are you up for lunch?
Sure! Give me 10 mins
Where shall we go?
Depending on where you work and your company's policies, that message exchange could be predominantly an exchange of email signature blocks. If your friend was not a colleague, then your email interplay probably included a confidentiality notice and a note to say that the message had been virus checked - each time it went backwards and forwards!
I did a back-of-a-matchbook calculation and estimate that as little as 2-12% of the kinds of emails is information of value - the semantic content.
Just think of the digital trees that are being wasted and the pointless whizzing of elections around the ether and the megabytes of data that are lounging around on hard drives adding no value.
For more formal communications, that may still need to be printed to hard copy and stored, then that redundant information is going to use up real trees.
Move this stuff completely away from email.
I favour applications such as iMessage, Slack and Skype as I can use my computer, tablet or phone to write or respond to messages.
My old eyes and fat fingers mean that I am not so fast on the keyboard of a phone any more.
There are loads of other chat programs out there.
Keep it short. Real short.
Maybe include a link to your Web site where your correspondent can get further information about your inside leg measurement.
Don't include graphic images such as your logo. Why do we want millions of those little .jpg files doing nothing but wasting space? If you must present your brand image, you could write a smart looking email signature block using CSS (or get someone to do it for you), that links to your logo hosted on your Web site. It will still appear in the email, but won't be stored in every email message that you keep.
Do you have to automatically include your signature block every time you send a new message? If the message is an internal message and all recipients know who you are.......then maybe not.
Replies and Forwards
Do you have to automatically include your signature block every time you reply to a message?
Consider switching that off in your email program. Use your signature if you are forwarding something on to someone you don't know well or at all.
Disclaimers, Confidentiality & Legal Notices
You may have no choice about including this, as it might automatically by added by your email server to all messages leaving the company. In the UK and Germany it is a requirement to include certain information about the company and/or it's directors in outgoing email. I don't believe this is required for internal email.
If you have to have one - see if you can get the company to make it as short as possible. I mean, really figure out whether every single word in the text is absolutely necessary.
Treat it like a précis exercise and come up with the shortest notice that includes the necessary semantic content, complies with your local requirements and that reads well.
For UK registered companies I have seen these notices ranging from ~200 characters and ~30 words to 1300+ characters and 220+ words.
Of course your email service checks incoming and outgoing emails! You wouldn't use it otherwise would you?
I don't need to know about it. I assume you do this. This is not the 1990s anymore.
I have seen these statements ranging from ~50 characters and 5 words to ~300 characters and 20 words.
Again, your company may add these notices automatically to outgoing messages, and if they insist, ask them to hack the word count to the minimum.
I guess one reason that we just send this mostly valueless information to each other again and again, is that it takes a little thought and energy to decide not to.
I think that the brain cells you excite to manage this process will be well used if you can reduce the amount of wasted content that we relentlessly send to each other on a daily basis.
So my plea is: Email signatures. Stop it. Now.