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It's 3 A.M. - Are You Checking Your Email Again?

Fourth Annual Email Addiction Survey from AOL Mail Reveals More Americans are Checking Email While Driving, in the Bathroom, on Vacation, in Church

New York, Houston & Chicago Top List of Cities "Most Addicted" to Email

NEW YORK -- If you check your email in the middle of the night or even while driving, you're not alone. According to AOL Mail's fourth annual Email Addiction Survey, nearly half (46%) of email users said they're hooked on email (up from just 15% last year) and 51% check their email four or more times a day (up from 45% in 2007). One in five said they check their email more than 10 times a day. Full results can be found at http://www.CrazyForEmail.com.

More than one-quarter (27%) are so overwhelmed by their email that they've either declared "email bankruptcy," deleting all their email messages to start anew, or they're seriously thinking about doing so. Maybe it's because 20% of users said they have over 300 emails in their inboxes!

To start fresh, 24% admit they've signed up for a new email address. It comes as no surprise then that 69% of email users said they have multiple email accounts, up from 52% in 2007. To get a new email address, including NAME@CrazyForEmail.com, just visit http://MyeAddress.com.

"We really do live in a 24-7 society and it's not uncommon to be online and checking email at all hours of the day," said Regina Lewis, AOL Online Consumer Advisor. "Sometimes we need to take a step back and refresh with an empty inbox or even a new inbox altogether to clear our mind and focus on those emails and relationships that are most important to us."

We Have Issues with Salutations, Sign-Offs & Spelling

When asked about email etiquette, nearly one quarter (24%) of email users said they don't even use a salutation - they just dive right into their email messages! Meanwhile, 23% write "Hi Bob" and 20% say "Hello Bob" when they start an email to co-worker Bob.

"If you converse regularly - bantering back and forth throughout the course of your workday - it's okay to leave out a salutation," said Cherie Kerr, author of The Bliss or "Diss" Connection?: Email Etiquette for the Business Professional, "Otherwise, people can feel as though you didn't care enough to write out their name. To really get someone's attention, the best thing you can do is call them by name."

As for email sign-offs, most people write "Thanks" (44%) or "Sincerely (12%). The most annoying sign-off among email users? It's "xoxo" according to 25% of respondents. "Cheers" irritated 13% of users the most. Overall, 63% of email users were annoyed by some type of email sign-off.

Most respondents (88%) said that they pay attention to spelling and punctuation when writing emails, and 68% said emails with spelling and punctuation errors annoyed them. Interestingly, 74% said they excuse errors when emails are sent from a mobile device like a BlackBerry or iPhone.

"At the end of the day, it's all about your image," added Kerr. "Typos and poor grammar are the equivalent of walking into a room looking unshowered and disheveled. Good writing in an email shows you have both professionalism and class." For Cherie Kerr's top-five email etiquette tips, visit http://www.CrazyForEmail.com.

We Like to Mix Business & Pleasure

Nearly two-thirds (62%) of at-work email users said they check their work email over a typical weekend, and nearly one in five (19%) check email five or more times in a weekend. Dallas email users were most likely (74%) to check in on the weekends, and those in Cleveland (53%) were least likely.

Worse, 28% said they feel obligated to check work email while on vacation, and 19% choose vacation spots with email access. Those in Los Angeles (33%) felt most like they had to check email, while Atlantans (21%) were least interested in email on Saturdays and Sundays.

More than 50% said they check their email while on vacation. It's even higher among mobile users. Seventy-eight percent of those who have a mobile device check email while on vacation. So much for taking a vacation to get away from it all.

We Do it in the Middle of the Night & First Thing in the Morning

So when are email users most likely to check their email? Twenty-three percent said as soon as they wake up, followed by right when they get home from work (11%) and right after dinner (9%).

Among email users, 16% said they check their email from a mobile device and 55% said they upgraded to a new cell phone in the last year so they could get their email while on-the-go. Unfortunately, 30% of mobile email users said that since getting a mobile device with email capabilities they feel "married to the office."

Nearly half (41%) of mobile email users said they keep their cell phones near them when they sleep so they can hear when a new email comes in. Worse, 49% of mobile email users said they check their email every single time a new message arrives. This can't be good for sleep.

Are We a Nation Hooked on Email?

People today check their email from the strangest of places. Where you ask?

* In bed in their pajamas: 67%

* From the bathroom: 59% (up from 53% last year)

* While driving: 50% (up from 37% last year)

* In a bar or club: 39%

* In a business meeting: 38%

* During happy hour: 34%

* While on a date: 25%

* From church: 15% (up from 12% last year)

Email users have also become too quick to hit the "Send" button. In fact, 32% have forwarded an email to the wrong person and 16% have relied on email as a way to share uncomfortable or bad news with someone. Meanwhile, 12% have used email to ask someone on a date and 7% have broken up with a boyfriend or girlfriend over email. A full 16% even said they still keep email notes from ex-boyfriends and girlfriends!

We also just can't walk away from our inboxes. Of those surveyed, 60% said they've never gone more than 5 days without checking email and 17% can't go more than one day without email. They're so hooked that 11% have even hidden the fact that they're checking email from a spouse or family member.

The Most Email Addicted Cities in the Nation

Some cities are more hooked on email than others. Here are the ten most email addicted cities in the country:

1. New York

2. Houston

3. Chicago

4. Detroit

5. San Francisco

6. Sacramento

7. Orlando

8. Minneapolis-St. Paul

9. Denver

10. Phoenix

AOL Mail, in partnership with Beta Research, conducted an online survey of 4,000 email users ages 13 and older in the top-20 U.S. markets to measure email usage. The survey was conducted June 11-18, 2008.

For the full survey findings, visit http://www.CrazyForEmail.com. Regina Lewis, AOL Consumer Advisor, is available for radio and television interviews on AOL Mail's Email Addiction Survey upon request.

About AOL

AOL is a global Web services company that operates some of the most popular Web destinations, offers a comprehensive suite of free software and services, runs one of the largest Internet access businesses in the U.S., and provides a full set of advertising solutions. A majority-owned subsidiary of Time Warner Inc., AOL LLC and its subsidiaries have operations in the U.S., Europe, Canada and Asia. Learn more at AOL.com.
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Jul 30, 2008
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