Why is emailing falling out of favour

01:00 Thu 21st Jun 2001 |

asks Woolley:
People seem to be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of emails they have to deal with at work. The Industrial Society describes it as 'inbox tyranny' - the dread that your inbox is silently filling up.

Q. How many emails are people getting
According to Gallup and the Institute For The Future, the average British worker deals with 22 emails each day - as well as 46 telephone calls, 15 internal memos and 19 items of post. That's a lot of information to process.

Q. And how are people dealing with it
They're not. We're now seeing cases of 'desk rage': one in four computer users admits to beating up their computer.

Q. Why
Experts believe it's because people feel as if their computers are controlling them instead of the other way around. Desk rage is usually triggered by a computer crash at a vital moment or as a result of a stream of emails.

Q. Wasn't new technology meant to make communication easier
Yes, but it didn't eliminate the old styles of communication, it just added to them. And because it's easy to use, it gets used a lot.

Q. Is the number of emails likely to increase
Yes. One team of researchers estimates that, within a year, office workers will spend up to four hours each day reading and answering an average of 50 work-related messages.

Q. What about emailing people for fun - to friends and family
That's not as popular as it used to be. A new survey by the Consumers' Association found that the number of people who claimed that emailing was their favourite method of communication has dropped over a year from 14% to 5%.

Q. Are they phoning instead
No. Only one person in five chooses the phone as their favourite means of communication, compared to twice that number only three years ago. And only one in 25 chooses their mobile over every other form of communication (text messaging is only popular for under-35s).

Q. How do people prefer to communicate
Face-to-face meetings are by far the most popular (67%), so fears that we're going to lose the ability to talk to each other seems to be unfounded.

Q. Aren't people using the internet, then
A. Yes, but more for information than communication: 54% of the time it's being used for research and education; emailing comes second (51%), followed by news and travel info (37%), business (25%), and downloading software (17%)

Q. Does anyone enjoy emailing
There's one group who are big on email - two-thirds of 'silver surfers' (over-55s) choose to keep in touch with friends and family this way.

Do you enjoy emailing Add your comment here

By Sheena Miller

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