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AOL Surveys E-Mail ‘Netiquette’

Posted: 03rd Dec, 2004 By: MarkJ
ISP AOL UK has released the results of a 3,000 consumer strong national survey into e-mail communication styles. Just over a quarter (27%) confessed that they hated e-mails with excessive use of acronyms and abbreviations (text message style):

R U a crptc? Pls DMAF!* (Are you a cryptic? Please do me a favour!)

Meet the ‘Cryptics’, who pepper their messages with acronyms and abbreviations … and have been identified as the most annoying type of emailer.

The hi-tech breed revels in using the hybrid language, believing the cyber-shorthand will either save time or impress colleagues.

But their messages – which sometimes resemble top secret code – obviously lose something in translation.

More than 27 per cent of the 3,000 computer-users who took part in a national survey commissioned by AOL named Cryptics as the most annoying emailers.

The Cryptic was closely followed by its polar opposite, the Author, who will never use an abbreviation when three paragraphs of dense, multi-syllable explanation will do instead.

In third place was the Forwarder, a well-meaning soul who makes sure that every joke and email ‘chain letter’ is passed on to each and every lucky recipient in his or her inbox.

The Player – a sneaky sort, who ‘blind’ copies colleagues into emails and blames ‘server problems’ for emails he “never received” (but actually couldn’t be bothered to read) was next up on the annoying list.

And the Smiley’s emails, which are decorated with cartoon ‘emoticons’ (smiley faces), endless kisses and ‘sideways’ messages like :0) – often have the opposite effect on recipients.

Smileys are also most likely to ‘shout’ – either in bold text or CAPITAL LETTERS!!!

Succincts, who keeps things short and sweet, are far and away the most popular sort of emailer, with only two per cent of people describing them as annoying.

Sheila Sang, Head of AOL Lifestyle, commented: “The results of the survey show that people need to think more about their email ‘netiquette’ before they hit ‘send’.

“Time is an issue, so many people rush an email instead of taking a moment to consider how it will be received, but it is always worth re-reading it before sending."

"As a general rule, if you think anything in the email might be considered unhelpful or offensive, the best thing to do is take it out.

The survey also reveals that a third of people use email for gossip – with work colleagues (35 per cent), friends (30 per cent), family members (19 per cent) and the boss (16 per cent) the most likely subjects.

A demanding 19 per cent of computer users say they expect a reply to their email within 30 minutes, although most (38.5 per cent) are happy with a same-day response.

And almost 10 per cent admit they have flirted with workmates via email.
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