Researchers at the University of Glasgow and the University of the West of Scotland have successfully matched emailing styles with characteristics supposedly held by 15 different types of bird. Research was undertaken following a statement from Dr. Karen Renaud, senior lecturer in Computer Science at the University of Glasgow, that email is an important tool in modern life that is used by different people in different ways. For some reason the conclusion was that our emailing styles are similar to different types of bird. The robin is associated with good email etiquette, with the owl (what with being nocturnal and that) being linked to late-night emailers and the peacock, a famously showy bird, primarily using email to get attention.


Dr Renaud says of the study’s findings ‘It is likely most people will be able to identify some of their email correspondents with these behaviours and perhaps even recognise their own email style,’ but seemed uneasy when asked whether self-assessment was possible given the frightening lack of self-awareness demonstrated by most people who over-use their email accounts. Hotmail users were advised not to worry about the whole thing.
The study found that not only are we more like our feathered friends than we had previously realised, but also that many find other peoples’ emailing habits deeply irritating. It is as yet unclear as to whether the research team will undertake a second study in to whether or not these habits can be broken, or if the only solution is for injured parties to turn their smartphones off when they don’t wish to be contacted. Alarmingly, the study also showed that people may be frequently sending emails to colleagues and friends when it would be considered far more appropriate to actually talk to them.

The research team have not yet put together an amusing flow-chart-style personality test, but their findings are published in ‘Interfaces’, the well-loved journal of the British Computer Society. The research department were unavailable for comment regarding why anyone had thought this study necessary, but it is possible that qmunicate magazine is just feeling snippy because we dislike being labelled as ‘woodpeckers’, due to our constant need to check our emails.

[Emma Jewson]

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