If you’ve ever had the displeasure of waiting more than a day or two for someone to respond to a pressing email, then you will be interested to know that the waiting period probably has nothing to do with how the person feels about you. A new study suggests that email response time directly correlates with age and the older a person is the longer it usually takes them to answer your email, but on the upside the reply is usually more in depth.
Today reports abot the study from the Information Science Institute at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering that suggests email response time is simply a generational thing, with older generations taking longer to hit the ‘reply’ key. Researchers involved in the study looked at data from 2 million users and a whopping 16 billion email exchanges.
What they found was that about half of all users responded to emails in under one hour. Since we have become accustomed to such quick responses, when a person takes more than a day or so the wait can seem brutal. The study finds, unsurprisingly that the quickest email responders are teens who generally will hit reply within 13 minutes.
And the times st go up from there. People within the age 20 - 35 category generally take about 16 minutes to respond to an email and those who are between 35 and 50 take 24 minutes to send out a response. People over 51 have the longest response time coming in at a lagging 47 minutes. This may not surprise you, but women on average take 4 minutes longer to send a reply than men.
It also seems that the younger you are, the fewer words you use when responding to emails with the most common response only containing about 5 words. Researchers also found that lengthier responses were usually only given to the emails received in the morning and quickest response time was on the weekends. Pamela Rutledge, director of the Media Psychology Research Center, points out that just because younger people send shorter emails and older people tend to write a more lengthy reply doesn’t mean there is more value one way or the other. She says, “Understand in this new world short [or long] does not have an implicit value judgment. There is a misunderstanding that technology gets in the way of relationships. I think that it facilitates it.”
What do you think of the study that suggests older generations take longer to respond to emails, but will usually send a longer reply than those younger?
How soon do you usually hit ‘reply’?