Yahoo commissioned a study about how people use email... and considering they provide an email service, I'd take the findings with a fairly large grain of salt. They're claiming that a huge percentage of people suffer from what they call "Pre and Post Mail Tension" (PPMT) when they have trouble understanding the intent of emails from others, or worry that their own emails will be misinterpreted and/or passed on to 50 million people. It appears that all those articles warning people to be careful that emails can be easily passed on and not to write something you didn't expect the world to see have gotten their point across too well. Now people are stressed out that any personal detail they write about will be seen by everyone. They also worry that people will misunderstand what they wrote. We've written here in the past about the need for "sarcasm tags" in HTML, because it is definitely true that many people don't understand sarcasm when it comes in a text format. This study said that it's even led to arguments among friends and significant others breaking up. If that's not reason enough for the added HTML tags, I don't know what is... Finally, people who are afraid that their emails will be misinterpreted tend not to be able to do any work. Instead, they keep clicking on their email box to see if the person wrote back. Of course, I don't think this is any different than people who wait by the phone for someone they like to call them back. In fact, the study points out these "symptoms" are more likely to occur with people who are acting flirtatiously online and talking to someone they're interested in.
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