stampsHaving just had a few days off I have come back to the usual full mailbox and a quota that’s blown so need to clear items out before I can send anything.

This is a very common place occurrence for people now, but how do we actually behave with and use email?

A recent study “Evolution of Conversations in the Age of Email Overload” carried out by Yahoo and Cornell University studied more than 2 million users exchanging 16 billion emails over several months.

The study itself shows some interesting results, but is based between pairs of people who send more than 5 replies to each other and have opted in to surveys which provides a level of bias into the survey.

Youngest email users, teens, have the fastest reply times; as users get older they become slower to reply to emails.


The survey provides details on the response times (medians of results)

  • 13 minutes for Teens
  • 16 minutes for Young Adults (20–35 years old)
  • 24 minutes for Adults (36–50 years old)
  • 47 minutes for Mature users (51 and older)

These figures for me show how the Younger Generations are more reliant on technology and interact with social media at a more frequent rate than their peers. It would be interesting to see the results on a wider distribution of users and email interactions though and if that has a skew on the results, also what device the users have access to which may dictate the speed of the reply.

Source : http://arxiv.org/abs/1504.00704