No, I am not rushing you a reply

Somebody had to do it: imagesput a stop watch on how long it takes to return an email. The USC Viterbi School of Engineering in Southern California put their researchers on to it and the results, while not astounding have explained to me, at least, where my problems lie.
A paper, ‘Evolutions of Conversations in the Age of Email Overload’ — snappy title there lads — comes from the USC Viterbi School of Engineering’s Computer Science Department and Yahoo! Labs. This was presented at the World Wide Web Conference.
In the largest study on email so far researchers say 90 percent of people respond within a day or two of receiving an email. The most likely reply time is two minutes, and half of responders will respond in just under an hour.
So what causes the differences in response time?
Mainly age. Younger people reply faster, but write shorter replies.
The study showed that teens are the quickest, with an email response time-an average of 13 minutes which strikes the writer as being nothing less than astounding.
Young adults aged 20-35 years responded on average within 16 minutes; 35–50 year olds tended to respond in 24 minutes; 51 years and up average took 47 minutes.
Women are slower. About twice as slow. Sexist but all we are doing is reporting the figures. Women tend to take minutes longer for an email response than men. On the other hand I would argue they are more thoughtful with their replies.
What else affects the time? Using a laptop on average doubles the time it would take to get a response from a mobile phone. (Perhaps using a mobile phone keeps the messages short because it is so damn difficult to type. Perhaps.)
Also know that e-mails are getting shorter. Emails with only fiveimgres words are the most common. More than half the email replies are less than 43 words, and only 30 percent of emails are longer than 100 words.
Which corresponds with my own experience. My emails are late, long and rare. Milton, thou shouldst not be living in this hour. Emails have no need of thee. You wrote too damn long.

About Gareth Powell

Welsh to the point of affectation. Retired publisher, journalist, author, truck driver, circus hand, sergeant. Lives in Australia and England. Prefers writing to almost any other human activity.

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