Today, emails can be html, there might not be a plain text part at all, they might have background colors, images and even animations. Instead of a well-formed signature, there might be none or maybe a huge company logo. Even in official communications, you might get no hints of the identity of the sender of the email
Let's take an imaginary example of how emails often look like...
Alright... Who is this person anyway? Some female member of the University of Michigan academic community, I would imagine. Her (nick)name is Cathy and her username seems to be caw. I might or might not find more information with Google or University of Michigan's search engine.From: email@example.com To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Meeting tomorrow Hi! Shall we meet tomorrow at 5:00 PM? Cathy
What if I need to contact her to tell I am late? Her email does not contain a phone number, or her faculty home page's URL. It does not even contain her real name. It might be Cathryn A. Witgenstein or Katrina Wu from what I know. She does not care or she does not realize that she should care.
This another imaginary example from the 1990's would be better:
Ah! Now I have all the relevant information and also a web address where I can find more.From: Catherine A. Winston <email@example.com> To: Mikko Tuomela <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: Meeting tomorrow Hi! Shall we meet tomorrow at 5:00 PM? -- Catherine A. Winston Associate Professor, University of Michigan School of Information email@example.com | (734) 123-4567 | http://www.si.umich.edu/people/caw
This post was inspired by all the emails I have received through the years. Don't be offended if you think you have inspired me!