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A recent humorous article about “killing the email signoff” filled me with a sense of relief as I came to the realization that I am not alone in my agonizing deliberation about email signoffs. I have spent way too much time, and thought way too deeply, about the appropriateness of signoffs and what meaning the signoff I was using conveyed. Using the signoffs “best,” “regards,” or “sincerely” often left me feeling empty and entirely insincere and signoffs such as “cheers,” or my all-time least favorite “ciao,” left me feeling fake, cheesy or unnecessarily pompous. Working in the context of the military makes the whole process much easier as everybody simply signs off V/R (surprise an acronym!), Very Respectfully, even if you have absolutely no respect for the person that you are emailing.

So I often just revert to “thanks,” but then am left wondering what I am thanking the person for. More often than not I just go with nothing and wonder if the person on the other end thinks I’m being rude.

As the article states, siImagegnoffs are a relic of actual letter writing (yes those pieces of paper that you put a stamp on and mailed) which was much more infrequently done and thus carried much more value and meaning than the multiple emails we send and receive daily. So if you receive an email without a signoff, don’t take it personal, it’s just part of a long overdue cultural shift.

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Google has released its Zeitgeist 2010, highlighting the search trends for the past year.  What’s up, what’s down, what do we care about? There’s a lot of information to look at here, but in a year that the United States saw mid-term elections and a host of other contentious issues the fastest rising queries included:

  1. iPad
  2. chatroulette
  3. iPhone4
  4. World Cup
  5. Justin Bieber

You can find additional trends for rising and falling terms across news, image, maps, etc. here.

twitter-bird-2-300x300While Twitter is quickly rising in the ranks of popular social networking sites, it’s also igniting some cultural trends and transformations among the literary set. This week we learned that teens don’t Tweet, thanks to a slightly skewed Morgan Stanley Report with a sample size of one 15-year old boy followed up by a generous Nielsen Report measuring the size of the Twitter footprint among age groups. According to the report, the Twitter trend ranks low among tweens and teens but hits hard among adults ages twenty-five to fifty-four.
For evidence of the power of the Tweeting trend and how it just might infiltrate the younger generation, just look to the newly signed authors, Alexander Aicman and Emmett Rensin, two University of Chicago students who have written “Twitterature: The World’s Greatest Books in Twenty Tweets or Less”. The book is emblematic of our contemporary world, where easily digestible bits of knowledge are the daily bread of fast-paced lifestyles and the hipster- aesthetic is easily condensed to coffee table cool. In an author’s note the two nineteen year olds question the social attention span asking, “After all, as great as the classics are, who has time to read those big, long books anymore?”

The book is due at the end of the year on the Penguin imprint.