Why I Sign my Emails with “=”

Earlier today, a colleague asked me why I sign my emails with an equals sign (“=Eugene”), which I’ve been doing since 2004.

The short, non-technical answer is that I was involved with a group back in the day that was promoting a new “universal” identifier scheme for people called i-names. Imagine a Twitter handle that worked on any platform, not just on Twitter, and that used an equal sign instead of an at sign (“@”). That’s essentially what an i-name was. Mine was =Eugene. (Actually, it wasn’t, but that’s a longer story.)

That initiative failed, but I just kept signing my emails that way out of habit. It doesn’t look that different from signing with an em-dash (“—”), and only a few folks have ever asked me about it.