You might want to read this before taking offense at a seemingly curt email from your partner: According to a recent study of email conducted by Yahoo labs, men and women seem to have different methods of communicating digitally.
The study, which analyzed more than 16 billion emails from two million participants over the course of several months (by far the largest email study ever conducted), tracked the ages and genders of senders and recipients, subject lines, when emails were sent, email length, and the number of attachments.
One of the study’s key takeaways might help explain why you aren’t getting the response you want from your partner (no, he’s not mad at you): Men send slightly faster and shorter replies than women. On average, a woman’s response has a median length of 30 words and a median response time of 24 minutes; men’s messages have a median length of 28 words and a median response time of 28 minutes.
Researchers also discovered that age affects emailing habits. Younger people tend to send faster and shorter replies, but respond to a larger volume of messages. Teens generally respond to emails within a median of 13 minutes, while adults aged 51 and over take as long as 47 minutes to reply. You’re likely to get a longer response from the latter age group though: Teenagers’ median reply length is just 17 words, while mature adults have a median reply length of 40 words.
Unsurprisingly, messages sent from mobile phones are the fastest, followed by emails sent from tablets, and finally replies from desktops. Also, responses sent from mobile devices tend to be shorter than those sent from desktops. Replies from phones have a median length of 20 words, tablets have a median length of 27 words, and desktops have a median length of 60 words.
Besides helping you predict how long you might have to wait for a response, researchers hope this information will aid developers in creating higher functioning email platforms that can allow users to classify and rank email in order of importance. Translation: an easier way to finally conquer the clutter plaguing your inbox.