This month's Atlantic magazine features a snappy article "Kisses and Hugs in the Office," by Jessica Bennett and Rachel Simmons on the use of XOXO in business email.
I wrote last year about a woman who was signing her email XXXOOO to my husband. I was relieved to realize the Xs and Os were part of her automatic signature, nothing special for my Michael. (Read the details in my post "Use Caution With Automatic Signatures.")
But according to the reporting of Bennett and Simmons, the use of Xs and Os (for kisses and hugs) has moved beyond signatures into subject lines and the bodies of emails. Most of this affection is shared by females. The authors reported that "among Twitter users, 11 percent of women xo in tweets, compared with only 2.5 percent of men."
Are you getting kissed and hugged in your business emails and IMs? Please share what you are seeing.
For the Atlantic article, Jessica Bennett asked me why the use of Xs and Os might have crept into business writing. My published response might sound as though I approve their use:
"It’s much faster to type the four-stroke xxoo than With warm wishes followed by a comma. If someone can type a smiley face in one second, why write a sentence like I appreciate your thoughtfulness?”
Don't think for a second that I recommend warming up your business emails with kisses and hugs. Not a chance! I was simply suggesting why their use might be increasing.
I look forward to your report.