I was just thinking about what I title my emails to friends. Sometimes they are clever and creative, but looking through my outbox I have realized that the majority of my emails to friends have been titled "Hey" or "Hi". Now, emails in and of themselves are pretty impersonal. I mean, when I was growing up, handwritten letters were awesome. Girls would decorate them and put shit in the envelopes so when you'd open them glitter and stuff would fall out and while that seems annoying, it was the best feeling because it meant that someone had spent time thinking about you, writing you a letter, and thought it would be a nice surprise for you when you opened it. Unfortunately, those days seem to be gone.
But in terms of email subjects, "hey" and "what's up" are so boring and I feel like such a loser when I do it but how does one really come up with a clever title? I mean, with email, do people really think about what the title says or do they read the name of who is sending it and just open it without giving any thought to the subject that someone may have spent a considerable amount of time developing? I have written short stories and attempted (quite unsuccessfully) to write a short novel and when pressed with creating the titles have had a very tough time. I mean, when it comes down to a book or story, the title can make or break you. Is this the case with an email? I mean, I will read anything that is written to me (or to someone else) no matter what the title, but I am definitely more apt to read with enthusiasm when there is a clever title. Like when you read Flannery O'Connor's "Everything That Rises Must Converge" you want to know what is going to rise, what will converge. At least that's what I think about when I read that title. (read it here)
But in terms of email, how does one create a clever title? do you write the first half of an obscure sentence and then complete it as the first line in your email? Do you pose a question? Do you develop a catchy rhyme? I am really at a loss because I find myself constantly struggling to come up with some better way of personalizing an impersonal message, yet always end up with "hey". Here's an idea I would like to see come to fruition: Let's stop emailing each other for a whole month and instead write letters. Now, for obvious reasons, this isn't totally possible because you have to use email now in order to get things done in a timely fashion. But what about those hey letters? I mean, think about the last time you received a handwritten letter in the mail and how good it made you feel? Fuck, forget the letter itself, just receiving an envelope with your name handwritten on it is good enough. Mixed in amongst the bills and solicitations and crappy oriental trading co. and j.crew catalogs. Maybe we should write emails, print them out, and mail them in a hand addressed envelope since writing actual letters takes so long. Then we get to utilize technology AND know that someone is smiling when they get the mail. I actually don't like that idea at all, but it seems as if all people want to do these days to communicate with each other is through email and text messages, which drive me in-fucking-sane. If you're going to say something to me, call me. Don't send me some obscure text saying maybe we should hang out and then not call but get mad at me for not calling (you know who you are).
All of this aside, I think there needs to be more thought put into email titles. that's all. Let's personalize the impersonal.