Ben Pobjie writes: The world of modern technology is filled with potential pitfalls to snare the unwary: how to keep sexting discreet; how to commit libel on Twitter without adverse consequence; how to stop playing the game Candy Crush.
But there are few elements of modernity as vexing as the question of how to sign off from an email. It’s an easy task if you want to look like a passive-aggressive tosser, but if you don’t, it’s one of the most fraught decisions you’ll make – and you have to make it over and over again, every day, knowing that if you slip up you might find yourself on the end of a workplace harassment complaint or scathing mockery from colleagues.
Like many people, I most often go for the safe option: the “cheers”. “Cheers, Ben” my emails tend to conclude. The trouble with “cheers” is, first of all, what does it actually mean? Am I literally cheering the person I’m writing to? Am I saying, “hooray!” at the end of my message? Or is it a toast – am I drinking to their health and electronically clinking e-glasses with them? Of course, it’s neither. “Cheers” doesn’t actually mean anything, and it’s also mind-bogglingly unoriginal: all that says to your correspondent is “I have neither the wit nor the inclination to come up with any meaningful way to end this”. [Continue reading…]