Study finds e-mailers’ habits can be classified into two basic groups

By Mark Caro
Chicago Tribune
Turns out there are two types of people in the world: those who send e-mails during working hours and those who send them during waking hours.
Four researchers — two at Northwestern University and two at Yahoo Research — examined the e-mailing habits of more than 122,000 American and about 3,000 European university students and staffers and found that they fall into two categories: “day laborers” (those who e-mail only between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m.) and “e-mailaholics” (those who e-mail when they’re awake, between 9 a.m. and 1 a.m.).
The paper, “Characterizing Individual Communications Patterns,” to be presented this summer at a Paris computer science conference, was designed as a broader behavioral study, so co-author and Yahoo researcher Jake Hofman said the surprise was finding that e-mailers fell into “two distinct groups.”
We all know some
Then again, Northwestern graduate student R. Dean Malmgren said, “I think we all know an e-mailaholic or two, and we all know somebody who can’t wait for the clock to hit 5.”
As if to underscore this split, lifehacker.com blog ran a click poll Tuesday asking, “What e-mailer type are you?”
The results, as of early evening: 3,040 day laborers, 2,996 e-mailaholics. A statistical tie.
And where do the researchers fall?
“I think we all tend to (be) e-mailaholics more,” Malmgren said.


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