Email: British Psychologist Uncovers “Seven Deadly Email Sins”

22Jan, 2014

Email is a funny thing.

On one hand, it is an incredibly innovative, informative, invaluable communication tool – a time- and money-saving way of exchanging information with all kinds of people, all around the world. And all usually costing nothing and requiring just a few keystrokes, mouse clicks or touchscreen taps.

It’s safe to say that email has revolutionized the way we communicate. And according to a MailChimp calculation in 2010, email usage saves around 2,400 trees each and every day.

On the other hand, email is an all-too-often intrusive, ever-increasing, at-times all-consuming drain on our time and energy. And one that is no longer confined merely to a desktop or laptop computer, but now infiltrating most Americans’ phones too.

It’s perfectly reasonable to ask if much of our email-enabled social change hasn’t come at a cost to our humanity.

article-2293516-0C7905AE00000578-408_634x419Lately, more and more people have been asking such questions. We recently touched on a report from JWTIntelligence which cited a top trend for 2014 as what has been dubbed, “rage against the machine.” Another recent study, this one from insurance giant State Farm, showed an alarming number of people now admit to reading or responding to emails while driving (in addition to surfing the Web and interacting on social media sites).

And now, the British-based newspaper The Telegraph has taken a look at the “sinful” nature of email and email usage. The Telegraph report looks at a recent study, conducted by U.K. occupational psychologist Dr. Emma Russell of Kingston Business School, which examined 28 email users to “see which habits had positive and negative influences on their working lives.”

From their, Russell went on to define and delineate “seven habits which can be positive if used in moderation but are likely to be negative if not handled correctly.” Some of these habits are mutually frustrating for both the email sender and the recipient, while others create more of a problem for the person sending the email.

The Seven Deadly Email Sins were revealed and ranked as such:

1. Ping pong (aka constant emails back and forth)
2. Emailing out of hours
3. Emailing while in company
4. Ignoring emails completely
5. Requesting read receipts
6. Responding immediately to an email alert
7. Automated replies and rules

In the words of Dr. Russell herself:

“This research reminds us that even though we think are using adaptive and functional strategies for dealing with our email at work, many of these strategies can be detrimental to other goals and the people that we work with.”

Of course, many people likely read this story after it arrived via their email inbox, as was the case with us here at Fang Digital Marketing. And to be perfectly honest, we’re not really sure what time the email came over. But we did enjoy reading it. And sharing it with you here.

Untitled-6We’ve also enjoyed our recent discovery of the brilliant new Unroll.me. This great new website and application swiftly scours and combs a user’s email account, then identifies all of the active email subscription lists. The user can then easily opt out of said subscriptions, or “roll them up” into a once-a-day, easy-to-read, consolidated “email roll call” known as The Daily Rollup. We used Unroll.me to unsubscribe from an array of annoying email ists, then chose to “roll up” quite a few others – including the one which alerted us of the existence of the Seven Deadly Email Sins. The one daily email a day – rather than 50, 60, 70 or more assaulting our Gmail inbox over the course of several hours – is a lot less stressful, and presented in a clear, clean, easy-to-scan manner.

What do you think about this list of Seven Deadly Email Sins? Are you or someone you know “guilty” of any or all of them? If so, have you experienced any truly “unhealthy” effects as a result? Or maybe you’re actually a fan of ping-pong. Or simply…Pong.

Let us know in the comments section below this blog post. We want to hear from you.

And if you absolutely feel the need to email us to provide your feedback…well, try not to be too naughty, OK?

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