Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Deep thoughts: study proposal

A new category of postings devoted to random thoughts of what is surely studied somewhere, but I do not know anything about...

Lotus Notes, and I imagine other desktop email programs, allow the users to customize the header of their emails with little icons. There is a library of icons available, and you can upload your own. This is the same type of functionality that allows people to upload their photos or representations to IM applications, or choose their icons in Windows XP Home edition. So much for the introduction.

Deep thought: Would not the icons and avatars people choose be a great and obvious psychology resource? I am sure people choose primarily something they associate with, or would want people to associate with them. In my daily Inbox I see short, harried emails from a "rider on a horse with a saber", from a soon-to-be-married bride - a burst of confetti, a great, if somewhat introverted, developer has an wrought-steel-with-rivets shield, and so on. This was from literally looking at the last three messages in my Inbox...

I am sure this is not surprising, but does anyone make use of it? For good or evil - people use graphologists, why not email iconographers? At the very least -- this is a therapy goldmine. I think every psychoanalyst should ask their patients to bring in their email stationary.

There has got to be a grant to study this somewhere [I think this is going to be the way I will always end these posts]


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