Friday, July 18, 2014

A Thousand Subject Lines

Hello and welcome to my new blog called "Re: Re: Hey." The idea for the name of the blog comes from the subject line of a direct message I recently received from a friend of mine through a social media messenger program. It could have just as easily come from the subject line of an email. Many of you probably recognize this subject line because it's been used billions of times (probably), and you may have used it yourself. It's the result of someone sending a message with the subject line "Hey" or sometimes "Hi" or "Hello" and then the subsequent "reply" to the message, which adds "Re:" to the subject line as per (the use of "as per" will be discussed in future posts) most software programs. Sometimes, the message sending ends at one "reply" or "reply to all," but typically, a volley of replies ensues with each reply adding an "Re:" so that one could end up with a message in one's inbox that looks like "Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Hey." That's not even that many "Re:'s." I'm sure you've seen worse.

I believe this type of nomenclature is unique to our times. After all, when I was a kid, I certainly never received a letter from the mailman that read "Re: Re: Re: Re: Message in a Bottle Being Returned by a Stranded Pirate." Titles just weren't as common in my youth. The only time you really ever had to come up with one was when you were turning in a book report, which usually used the book's title, or when submitting an essay such as "What I Did over Summer Vacation." Nowadays, people are being asked to submit titles in the form of subject lines dozens of time or more a day, and, really, how many good titles do each of us have in us? Moreover, who has time to come up with catchy subject lines all day? Hmm, let's see ... have to email the teenage babysitter about pickup time for the kid next Tuesday ... what's a good subject line/title for this important message? "Retrieval of Great Importance" -- too Hollywoody. "Of Pickup and Care" -- too literary. "Real Life After School" -- too cable TV and stupid. See what I mean. It's not that easy. It's a lot easier to just say, "Hey."

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