10 Astonishing Email Habits - InformationWeek

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4/14/2015
10:50 PM
David Wagner
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10 Astonishing Email Habits

The world's biggest study into our email habits reveals some strange behaviors we might want to consider breaking.
2 of 13

1 Day

That's how long it takes for 90% of email replies to be sent. That shouldn't be too much of a surprise, but...

(Image: We Hope via Wikipedia)

1 Day

That's how long it takes for 90% of email replies to be sent. That shouldn't be too much of a surprise, butů

(Image: We Hope via Wikipedia)

2 of 13
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Whoopty
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Whoopty,
User Rank: Ninja
4/15/2015 | 7:29:48 AM
Two minutes?
Two minutes is a pretty average time I think. I have two windows open all day to my email accounts, though I turned off notifications on my phone as when I'm done for the day I'm not answering any emails until morning.

I think that's the healthy way to do it, otherwise you're constantly grabbing your phone and can never switch off. 
ChrisMurphy
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ChrisMurphy,
User Rank: Author
4/15/2015 | 8:58:33 AM
Re: Two minutes?
Your Dead Thread one is an interesting one when it comes to business email, David. Often you hear time management advice along the lines of "only check email x times a day." But when a thread takes off, that's when the energy is there, and if you miss the wave, it can be tough to bring anything to the discussion. 
GAProgrammer
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GAProgrammer,
User Rank: Ninja
4/15/2015 | 9:13:03 AM
I agree, 2 minutes sounds right
Keep in mind this isn't business, David - it's personal. Most smartphones now have access to Gmail. Hotmail, and Yahoo mail 24/7 with push notifications. If an email comes in, you see it instantly. Also, these were specific conversations with someone via email - really no different from a text message. You see who it is, decide to reply and go on your day. It doesn't require a lot of time or attention. My wife frequently converses with me via text while cooking and taking care of kids.
Number 6
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Number 6,
User Rank: Moderator
4/15/2015 | 10:11:46 AM
Yahoo
Unless Yahoo is going to use the results of this research, was this really the best use of time and resources for a struggling company?
rjones2818
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rjones2818,
User Rank: Strategist
4/15/2015 | 10:51:45 AM
Re: Yahoo
Yahoo has in the hundreds of millions of e-mail users.  It's in their best intrests to know what their patrons are doing.
KJENSEN3760
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KJENSEN3760,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/15/2015 | 11:44:32 AM
Email Use
I found the summary results expressed to be consistent with what I've observed over the past 30-some years when I began using email in 1984 while in the military working on special computer projects. Even in the early years of email use primarily in the government sector people treated email nothing like the electronic version of letters that they were designed to be, they neither paid attention to grammar or proper sentence structure and certainly not spelling--so began the texting form of communication before phone texting ever came into existence.  Since I began my early military experience in communication and signal analysis predating 1984 we had our own form of "texting" between operators using teletypes and, of course, the military used a lot of acronyms (actual acronyms which the private sector in business seems to have no concept of).

It seems to me that the very application and habits in email used in their personal emails people have applied to their business communications.  When typed (hard copy) business correspondence was done there was at least some methodology applied to ensure that it didn't go out without some kind of scrutiny of the content before others received it.  But when email proliferated the written form of communication it seems that any caution or scrutiny to ensure a professional content went out the window for presumably the sake of a more timely response.

When it comes to communication today people don't seem to care about the journey or the story behind the headline, they prefer the headline or byline more than how someone came to that conclusion or rather their thought process.  We prefer making assumptions to get to our conclusions rather than knowing what someone's thinking might be--let alone any related facts, if there are any.

Shorter or more brief communication doesn't necessarily translate into more effective communication--only faster communication, something the study apparently wasn't designed to necessarily show.  I would say that our communication habits through technological advances hasn't necessarily improved or become better, at least from my experience.  I think I will be sharing some of the study's findings with my other senior managers since it seems to support what I've been trying to impress upon them while preparing the next generation of business leaders and managers within the company.
dried_squid
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dried_squid,
User Rank: Moderator
4/15/2015 | 2:39:18 PM
thanks yahoo
    Thanks yahoo. Disclaimer: I do not work for yahoo. I do not own stock in yahoo.

    I do yahoo.mail and flickr. I pay. Forget when I started. I've been online since CompuServe and the 8086.

    I'm older, a boomer. I use emails for letter writing - 250 words or more. Before the internet and email, I wrote fountain pen letters to my mommy and my unrequited love. I don't twit. My cell does not have internet.

    I like the way the study was structured. Thanks for the background information.

    I see email+internet+hypertext as today, and the future. I learned HTML and CSS and do plain text emails, as well as zips of small hypertext docs, 5 or 6 files - *.html, *.css, *.jpg, and/or *.pdf. To me it's cheap, portable, and reusable. I don't understand why more people don't spend a few hours to learn how.

    I also do hamburgers at home. And I go out, both plastic tray and white tablecloth.

    I'm not an el cheapo, an environmentalist, or a Luddite, but to me, email+internet+hpertext is low dependancy, long lasting, and local archives which are easy to search. So ... why not?

    As for longer, later responses. I don't care - to me, at least it's a step up from lurking.

 
Li Tan
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Li Tan,
User Rank: Ninja
4/15/2015 | 2:45:16 PM
Re: Two minutes?
It's really hard to control how long you spend on email on day to day basis. Especially for management people - the managers rely on email quite a lot even though we have other convenient communication method available.
Thomas Claburn
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0%
Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Author
4/15/2015 | 4:30:23 PM
email
Email remains the best app ever, even though I get too much of it.
jastroff
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0%
jastroff,
User Rank: Ninja
4/15/2015 | 6:50:11 PM
Re: email
>> Email remains the best app ever, even though I get too much of it.

 

Amen!
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