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Sent From My Desktop

Maybe I’ve been oblivious or maybe there has been a recent inundation, but virtually every e-mail I receive ends with “sent from my (insert name of your mobile device here).” Before the majority of us had i-Phones, i-Pads, Blackberries or Droids this message may have served a purpose by demonstrating the novelty, flexibility and status of having on-the-go internet access, but now most of us have a mobile device. Last week, I e-mailed my ten year old nephew to ask him what he would like for Christmas. I received his very sweet response followed by “sent from my i-Pod.” E-mails from friends come from every conceivable mobile device currently available on the market. When receiving a text from my 70ish parents, I noticed “FMI” at the end of their message. This one stumped me. I was tempted to text back, “WTF is FMI?” but restrained myself.  The next time we communicated the old-fashioned way, by phone, I asked what it meant. My dad doesn’t want people to know exactly which i-Product he is using to send his messages so he changed the tag to the more mysterious FMI. Even when people post on Facebook, it tells us if it was via a mobile device. Other than offering a viable excuse for ludicrous word choice errors caused by the auto correct feature, this ubiquitous message begs the question, “Why do I care what type of device was used to send the message I am reading?” I’m interested in the content of the message, not its method of delivery.

Perhaps those four little words are a subliminal marketing technique. Constant, subtle reminders of different devices slowly and painlessly embed themselves into my subconscious, lying dormant until my wireless contract expires. When the time comes to buy a new device, I will be inexplicably drawn to a particular smart phone or tablet. Marketing directors may intend this message as a form of technological peer pressure. If all the cool kids are sending messages from an i-Phone, I’ll have to get one too. Maybe those same marketing directors think that my friends’ choice of mobile devices will impact my next technological purchase. Sometime in the future, I may be perplexed in a wireless store and think, “I don’t know what to choose, but Friend A is really smart and savvy. Maybe I should just buy what she has.”

That simple statement at the end of a message tells me that the sender is busy, but is taking a few precious moments to keep in touch with me. Is providing me with this information meant to make me feel special? Or, will it have the opposite effect by making me feel like a loser because my friend is out in the world living a glamorously mobile life while I am chained to a desktop? If those few words tagged at the end of the message are meant to convey the excitement of someone’s life, it’s too generic. Adding information about where the message was sent from would be infinitely more interesting then knowing how it was sent. Several years ago, on a trip to Switzerland, I was on top of an Alp and texted a yodel to a friend back home. Knowing precisely where I was when I sent that text message made the experience much more fun for the recipient. She had the opportunity to share the mountaintop with me and picture herself there. Since all of these phones seem to have the capability of pinpointing our exact location on the planet at all times, surely, it would not be too difficult to add this information to the end of an e-mail or text message.  Of course, if you are sending messages from an i-Product while sitting at home on your couch in your jammies, this could backfire and destroy the whole mobile mystique.

**Why do you think this message is at the end of texts and e-mails sent from mobile devices? **

About Paprika Furstenburg

I was born with an overly developed sense of humor and poor coordination. The combination of these two character traits has taught me humility and given me the perspective to find the funny in everyday experiences.

23 responses »

  1. I guess I am old and my friends are old and we all have pitifully cheap technology because, as I was reading your post, I realized I only see those “sent from” messages from one person, who happens to be 10 years younger than me, and who happens to have an i-phone! So, it appears that one of the benefits of being old is that I don’t have to see too many of those annoying “sent from” messages. Yeah! LOL!

  2. Great post. I think it is the smart phone equivalent to the fashion industry — where all the brands are screamed out — outside of the labels! I try hard to find anything to buy that doesn’t announce that I am either pretentious or cheap, depending on the product.

    • Great analogy comparing the sent from tag to the fashion industry’s designer labels. I hadn’t thought of it that way. Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment. Hope you’ll be back again soon.

  3. The give and take with your readers is almost as entertaining as your original message. You have a very loyal, erudite, insightful or inciting–both work, and humorous following (of course, present company excluded!)

  4. It’s marketing. I just learned how to change my blackberry’s tag line and changed it to say something about typos. What do you think about this tag line instead?

    “Our time has come. Bow down and be ruled — The machines.”

  5. I remember many years ago on a business trip, my fancy hotel had a phone in the bathroom. I was so impressed I called my mother. My how things have changed.

  6. My wife and I actually called my brother-in-law while staring into the mouth of Mt. St. Helens. Don’t know why – just seemed like a cool thing to do at the time. Didn’t see any celly towers nearby (not too many in the middle of Gifford Pinchot National Forest), but somehow the call worked. Very cool moment, to describe what we were seeing. Brought him to us and the scene to him. However, the remoteness of the moment was temporarily lost. This is the price we pay for these kinds of things.

    (Sent to you from my i Couch with my i Fingers)

    • It is really fun to be able to share a unique experience with people we love while we are in the moment. I guess in this ever changing technological world we have to balance the novelty of using the phones with the enjoyment of being someplace peaceful and remote.

  7. Sorry, Paprika, I don’t know the answer. This reply was sent by Professor Plum, in the Library, with a computer.

  8. I still prefer speaking with a person face-to-face, but only for a handful of people (including you, of course). Technology, however, is also delighfully impersonal for everyone else.

  9. I have an android phone and have broken two lap tops in the past year that the thought of purchasing an expensive Mac has me breaking out in hives. I also have to confess I have not used the phone in the past two weeks because I do not where it exact location in my house…Did just over share?

  10. Sorry, the screen on the iProducts are not sufficient to compensate for my failing eyesight. I also have problems fitting my fingers on the tiny keyboards. I’m old school. I like touch typing on my laptop with a 17″ screen. When using a mobile device I am far too tempted to send messages like . . . RUOK? I refuse to start down that path. We all know where it leads. I know it’s a line in the sand, but I’ve drawn it and damn it, I intend to go down in flames before I cross it.

    • Good for you for drawing that line and sticking to it! I have a Droid and have grown to love the convenience it provides me, but I insisted on having one with a slide out keyboard. I don’t have large fingers, but I can’t use that stupid touch pad and spell a single word right the first time through a message. It’s completely frustrating. I prefer my laptop, proper grammar and spelling too. Thanks for reading and commenting. Hope you’ll be back soon 🙂

  11. As the recipient of the yodel text I think we should both take a leap into the technological future and consider facetiming one another. This way I get to vicariously enjoy your travel destinations with the added bonus of being able to hear the actual sound of the yodel from the alps. Or, better yet, I can watch you trying to straddle the loo as you shoot that spectacular window vista view from just the right angle of the privy. If I was being totally honest I would have to sign this comment as…sent from the messy desktop of my home whilst thinking about the next ridiculous vacation assignment I’ll give you.

  12. I love technology it’s how I could do business while on a ski lift. Guess it can cause technology envy….and you do have to unplug(no excuses. Rule here: it’s not a vacation if you are checking email and texting). Nice post

    • I’m a reluctant user of technology, but I’ve turned a corner since I got a smart phone in April. I’m impressed you can text and e-mail on a ski lift. The few times I’ve been on a ski lift my hands were too busy clinging to the bar for dear life. Thanks for reading and commenting!


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