America Online, Inc. has released the results of its E-mail Addiction survey, which takes a look at how millions of Americans treat their e-mail. The survey asked users about their e-mail habits, including things from how often they check personal e-mail at work to whether or not they've ever checked e-mail while in church. The survey found that e-mail users today rely on e-mail as much as the phone for communication, spend about an hour a day on e-mail, and that 77% of e-mail users have more than one e-mail account: the average user has 2.8 accounts.
The on-line survey, conducted with Opinion Research Corporation, collected answers from 4,012 respondents 18 and older in the top 20 cities around the United States to measure e-mail usage.
Forty one percent check e-mail first thing in the morning, 18% check it right after dinner, 14% say they check e-mail right when they get home from work, and 14% do so right before they go to bed. Forty percent of e-mail users have checked their e-mail in the middle of the night.
More than one in four (26%) say they haven't gone more than two to three days without checking their e-mail.
E-mail users have checked their e-mail in a variety of locations, including:
In bed in their pajamas (23%)
In class (12%)
In a business meeting (8%)
At a Wi-Fi hotspot, like Starbuck's or McDonald's (6%)
At the beach or pool (6%)
In the bathroom (4%)
While driving (4%)
In church (1%)
The survey also found that 61% of e-mail users who are employed outside the home check their personal e-mail at work, with three times a day the average. About half of those who check personal e-mail at work (47%) check it sporadically throughout the day, while about one in four (25%) check it first thing when they arrive, 18% check it at lunchtime, 8% during an afternoon break and 2% right before they head home.
Still about e-mail in the workplace, the survey results show that women are more likely than men to check their personal e-mail at work throughout the day (50% vs. 44%), while men are more likely than women to check their personal e-mail first thing when they arrive in the morning (28% vs. 21%).
Six in ten of all e-mail users (60%) check their e-mail while on vacation, mostly for pleasure (47%) rather than business (13%). Of those who access e-mail while on vacation, 57% say it's very (21%) or somewhat important (36%) that they have access to e-mail.
It was also found that people share their e-mail addresses. One in four e-mail users (26%) shares an e-mail address, with a spouse (21%), their children (7%), a friend (6%), a parent (3%) or a roommate (1%).
And what about the "Oh no" instant? E-mail users are most interested in being able to un-send a message which hasn't been read yet (45%) and a similar number are interested in being able to track where an e-mail has been forwarded (43%). Others are interested in the ability to put a lock on e-mail so it can't be forwarded (27%), a pop-up that asks the user to double-check who they are sending the e-mail to (27%) and un-sending a message which has already been read (14%).