AOL Study Finds E-Mail Addictive

If you have one e-mail account, chances are excellent that you also have a second. If you work outside the home, you've probably checked your personal e-mail at the office. But you've also probably opened your inbox while on vacation. In fact, odds are four in 10 that you've checked e-mail in the middle of the night.


That's according to new research by America Online scheduled to be unveiled today. The report, based on an Opinion Research Corporation survey of around 4,000 online adults in a total of 20 U.S. cities, found that 77 percent of e-mail users have more than one account, and the average user has 2.8 accounts. The average user also relies on e-mail at least as much as the telephone, and spends about an hour a day checking e-mail.

In addition to reading personal e-mail at work (done by 61 percent of users who work away from home), account holders also check e-mail in bed (23 percent), classes (12 percent), and business meetings (8 percent). A small proportion even admit to checking e-mail in the bathroom (6 percent), while driving (4 percent), and in church (1 percent).

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The survey also found some city-by-city differences in e-mail habits. For instance, San Francisco e-mail users check e-mail six times a day on average--more than in any other city surveyed. Also, more than three out of four e-mail users in the city by the Bay, 76 percent, check personal e-mail at work.

Houston takes the prize for the highest proportion to stumble out of bed to check e-mail, with 51 percent of account holders saying they've checked in-boxes in the middle of the night. Bean town residents seem to be the early birds, with 45 percent saying they check e-mail first thing in the morning--slightly more than the national average of 41 percent.

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