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Gender and E-mail Style

Here's a pretty old legacy post from the blog archives of Geekery Today; it was written about 23 years ago, in 2001, on the World Wide Web.

The New York Times has published an interesting article on gender differences in e-mail communications. Not surprisingly, males and females tend to show pretty much the same communication patterns in e-mails as they do normally: men tend to be more taciturn, instrumental, and transactional. Women tend to be more voluble, open, and relational. This dovetails interestingly with other findings that corporate CEOs, the quintessential alpha males, are are very terse in their e-mails whereas lower-ranking workers tend to be more formal. I suspect that this has more to do with tersity being a male behavior, and therefore valued, than tersity being valued, and therefore becoming a male behavior. In either case, though, there may be some hope yet: some researchers have also found that the disinhibiting effects of e-mail actually help some men communicate intimacies and feelings that they’d never communicate face-to-face.

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