Why do people sign yearbooks?

By the late ’90s, several other perennial favorites began to grace signature pages in yearbooks around the country. There was always “the first to sign your crack,” written on the spine between pages; everyone wanted to know “wuz ^” (what’s up) but also wanted you to know NMH (not much here); and by the way, your friend would also “c-ya next year.” Oh, and so-and-so was there, at a very specific spot indicated by an arrow. And don’t forget to save your yearbook, because someday, “my signature will be worth a lot of money.”

Yearbook signatures in the early 2000s were an exercise in technology. By 1999, nearly everyone left a phone number, with the now-standard KIT or C/M (call me)—even though hardly anyone really meant it. In 2000 and 2001, email addresses and pager numbers joined the ranks, followed by screen names, text speak, and Facebook references in 2008.

The most recent yearbooks seem to have dispensed with much of the silliness from previous decades, instead morphing into something more personal: longer, meaningful letters to let friends know the person signing truly cares. This was likely due in part to the evolution of mobile technology; friends are now able to connect 24/7, so perhaps yearbooks signatures have become a way to show someone how you feel outside of Instagram or Snapchat. But hey, KIT. Surely HAGS will make a triumphant return in years to come.