What does your email say about you?

Update: If you’re coming to this post from Google, this quiz is no longer available. If you’d like to take a similar one, try this one.
Has it really been eleven days since my last post? I knew it had been a while but I didn’t realise it had been as long as that! I feel funny when I haven’t posted or commented for a while, like I’m neglecting everyone. I hate that. I’ve had other things on my mind this last fortnight, though. I haven’t been feeling well and I’ve been awake now for 56 hours straight! I’m looking forward to catching up with everyone over the weekend… and hopefully some sleep too.

I realised earlier that I’ve just had an anniversary. It was May 1998 that I came online for the first time! Yeah, I know, most people have been online a lot longer than 10 years but it was a big deal to me. My friends were online and I’d used it a bit at school but it was the first time I’d experienced the net properly; it was a whole new world. I remember we used to buy these $30 prepaid cards that lasted for 25 hours; I used to write down exactly how long I’d been online so I wouldn’t go over the limit. These days I’m on that long in a week!

One thing I still remember is my first email address, even though it’s now long defunct: masta1@bigpond.com. Awful, isn’t it? I wasn’t ready when we were setting up the account, so I just said the first thing that popped into my head and that was masta1. I cringe whenever I think about it now. I had that address for three years and my first stories were published with it… it’s not exactly the address you’d associate with a writer, is it?

It’s funny seeing how far I’ve come since then. I’ve been through another eight addresses, started five websites, several blogs… I’ve even helped friends set up sites and I’ve enjoyed helping people in the WP forums. Not bad seeing I had no idea what I was doing when I first came online! πŸ™‚ More importantly I’ve felt like I’ve become part of a larger community and that’s something I hadn’t felt before… the world really is much smaller now.

And yet, somehow, after all these years, that damn address still says more about me than anything else! No matter how many posts I write, how many photos I put up or profiles I fill out, nothing tells you more about me than masta1. At the least it says I’m a bit of a geek; at the most that I take myself too seriously. I really wish I’d chosen something different now. Email addresses are so important, particularly for first impressions; somehow I doubt masta1 gave people the right idea! πŸ˜‰

I know I’m being silly but there is something to it. Have you ever stopped to think about what your email says about you? Obviously our writing style says a lot but even our addresses can reveal more than we thought. Researchers in Germany recently found that the email addresses we choose often reveal traits like openness, conscientiousness and narcissism without our even realising it. Addresses using punctuation, numbers and fake names proved much more revealing than others, which makes sense. You’re not going to see many adults using sweetthing72@wherever.com, are you?

I found it interesting as I’ve always thought that email says a lot about us. Every way we communicate reveals something about our personality and writing is particularly revealing. A lot of people see email (and comments and forums) as a form of communication that allows them to say things they wouldn’t normally say; they’re much harsher and I’ve always thought that reveals more about the real “them” than they’d ever let us see. The style we use in an email says a lot about us too. Not just the length but whether we write with warmth or intellect, what feeling we convey in the email; that reflects our personality just as much as the words themselves.

I’m not sure if it’s the same for you but I’ve always felt like my online personality is quite like how I am in person; I have a sense of humour but I’m thoughtful and careful with what I say. I’m never happy unless I get the tone of what I’m writing just right because I usually have a lot to say! I came across this quiz earlier and it seems to agree with me. The questions were fun and it’s quite accurate for a simple quiz. I wonder what your email says about you? Do you think you represent yourself online the same way you do off?

Anyway, I’ve just been thinking about this lately. The time’s gone so quickly and it’s funny looking back, seeing how much has changed. I can’t imagine life without the Internet now; it’s helped my writing enormously and I’ve made so many friends. I think I was lucky that I didn’t get online earlier; I can still remember how much I loved experiencing it all for the first time and if I’d grown up with the net then it wouldn’t have been anywhere near as special. I might have taken it for granted and I’d have missed out on so much.

Now all I’m missing out on is sleep! Oh well, guess I’ll sleep when I’m dead. πŸ˜‰

Edit: Now I know I definitely need to sleep! Sulz just reminded me that you need to sign in to Tickle before you can see your results. D’oh! I completely forgot; I meant to post the link to another quiz too, in case you don’t have an account. You can find that one here. I’m going to get some shuteye now. πŸ™‚

7 thoughts on “What does your email say about you?

  1. Sulz, when it comes to email, you’re a Connector

    If we asked your friends and family, chances are they’d tell us that email was invented just for you. Maybe it’s because email is the perfect complement to your already outgoing personality. Or maybe it’s just another excuse to spend time with friends instead of tackling that growing pile of work on your desk. (Weren’t you the one who got caught passing notes in 6th grade?)

    In any event, if there’s a get-together that needs getting together, we’d guess you’re the first one to dial in, grab your buddy list, and whisk off an irresistible invite. But with so many people to see and just as many places to go, a Connector like you needs multiple email addresses you can access through one account. Just imagine if you could manage your alumni, family, and friends’ emails in neat little folders. And all in one email inbox! So next time you find yourself in one email account wishing you could access another, just remember you can!

    i don’t know about the outgoing personality! i mean, i wouldn’t be in front of the computer all the time then would i? πŸ˜†

    masta1, what’s that supposed to mean? anyway, yes, it’s hideous. πŸ˜› my first email was myname_lee100@hotmail.com. why lee? not my surname, but because i liked lee brennan. 😳 now i prefer to have e-mails with sulz (as my common handle online) or my real name.

    i hope you get some sleep soon, it’s really not good for your health. 😦

    a note to others: if you don’t have a tickle account, you need to sign up before you can see your results!

    CJ: I don’t know, sulz, I think your online personality is pretty outgoing! I bet that’s the real you inside too, fun and vibrant. If we include blogging with email then it’s not far off at all. πŸ˜‰

    masta1 = Jedi Master. Yoda was the first thing I thought of; I’m still living it down. πŸ˜• Lee Brennan? Wow, 911 bring back some memories! Using a name or common handle makes the most sense now. I mainly use my real name for exposure. I get a lot of spam, though; one of the downsides of being published. Thank goodness for Gmail and free accounts. πŸ™‚

    And thanks, I did manage to sleep a bit earlier. I never really understood the effects of insomnia until it started. You just lay there for hour after hour until you go crazy, too exhausted to read or do anything useful… hopefully it won’t last much longer.

    I knew I forgot something! I meant to post a link to another quiz for people who don’t have an account… I’ve added it now. Strange that Tickle does that; you don’t have to for Tickle UK. I’ll stick to BlogThings next time. πŸ˜›

  2. Great post CJ. I sat and thought a while about what you said. And how much you are like the person you are on-line. I am too. But it wasn’t for me when I first started going using the net.

    I used to be so shy. I would have never talked to people about their political or world views. I would have never asked a person where they were from and what is it really like there or the history of where they live.

    Now it’s a different ball game all together. I will be the first to start a conversation. I never shy away from asking anything I want to know about. Talking with people through the internet made me more comfortable talking with people I don’t know in “real life.” Most people are more than happy to tell you their stories.

    I’ll have to check out the e-mail thing. Take care πŸ™‚

    CJ: Thanks, Beadden! I’m glad you liked it. And I really appreciate your thoughtful comment. So the internet helped you to open up? That’s wonderful. We’re always hearing about the “evils” of the net but we rarely hear about the good things, the small ways it’s changed and improved our lives… I think those are even more important.

    I’ve always been much the same online as off but for me what was interesting was that I basically grew up online. Just as I became a teenager and started learning about myself, I was also learning about the net and started meeting different people. I’ll never forget being in a chatroom for the first time; there were five of us, myself, two Americans, a Dutch girl and a Briton. It was just as NATO started bombing Kosovo in 1999 and there we were, five people countless kilometres apart, sharing an intelligent conversation like we were in the same room. That showed me just how small the world really is and helped shape my world view. So in many ways I doubt I’d be the same person today without the net.

    I also remember how open they were about themselves, where they lived… you’re right, people really are willing to tell you their stories if you know how to ask. I’ll have to do more of that; they’re the stories worth hearing. πŸ˜‰

  3. Did it:

    When it comes to email, you’re a One-liner

    As Shakespeare so eloquently put it, “Brevity is the soul of wit.” And these are the kind of words that seem to sum up your email writing style. Maybe you’re so busy you can’t manage much more than a quick reply. Or maybe you’re just so witty you say it all without many words. And then again, maybe you just can’t be bothered to type that much.

    Truth is, you’ve got places to go and people to see. As much as you rely on email to keep your life sane, you’re always looking for ways to make it more efficient. Tired of advertisements popping up every time you sign on? Wish you had a dollar for every piece of spam you had to sort through?

    CJ: Hm, not sure about that one for you, Beadden. I’d have thought you’re more like sulz’s or my result. Interesting summary, though. I know quite a few one-liners. I could never do that… I always have too much to say. πŸ™‚

  4. Hey CJ!
    That was a fun test and apparently, we are both entertainers. I agree, I think email does tell something about the person. As to my online personality – it’s the same as offline. Too hard to remember pretend things, easier just to be me and let the chips fall where they may.

    Now, why haven’t you slept in so long and why are you still reading instead of taking a nap?
    Annie

    CJ: Hi Annie, thanks for taking the test. I don’t need a test to know you’re an entertainer, though. Your blog has me thinking every time I stop by. πŸ˜‰

    I know some people have a different written voice compared to their spoken one, so perhaps they don’t mean to come across as differently as they do online. But a lot of people do it consciously and I don’t understand that. You have a lot more to gain by being open and you can still be anonymous if you want; it’s the tone that matters.

    The lack of sleep is just insomnia but it’s lasted for a while now. I’m still catching up from last week, so that nap sounds good! I need to make sure I’m awake for Indy 4 on Thursday. πŸ™‚

  5. CJ I can’t tell you how many hotmail accounts I have lost for not signing in for over 3 months! They cancel them if you don’t, but you can get them back. I rarely check my e-mail. And rarely write back. My family can account for that!

    There is just not enough time in the day to do everything I want. I guess e-mail is on the bottom of the list. πŸ™‚

    CJ: Yes, hotmail’s annoying like that! I’ve lost a few accounts before for the same reason. Guess that’s Microsoft for you, eh? πŸ˜‰ I love Gmail now. I’ve never had any problems with my accounts.

    There’s definitely not enough time in the day! I try to micro-manage now and just move on if I can’t do it. You go crazy if you try to do everything! I am a bit of an email black hole, though; I often reply days later if at all! Guess it’s just priorities… note to self: must try to do better. At least then when I fail I can say I tried. πŸ™‚

  6. Wanna hear embarrassing emails? My first email addie was XgeniusX16@aol.com Ain’t that just awful? Then I had a string of fake name emails… I was a chatter on geocities (later what became yahoo)… way underage and pretending not to be. I was perpetually 16 until I actually turned 16, then I aged. Of course, I began to use the internet back in ’96, I believe. That would be half my life as an internet junkie. The internet was what my mother used (along with satellite tv) in order for us to keep in touch with civilization when we moved to PR. I don’t know where I would have been without them!

    CJ: I like that email. It either sounds like algebra or a porn name, not sure which! πŸ™‚ A lot of people protect their age online and I understand that… it just seems prudent to take some precautions to protect your privacy, particularly if you’re young. I actually hate it when a site asks for your age or address. I usually give them false info; I don’t want them to know anything about me. Google’s the worst like that!

    The net’s been a wonder for communication; we’re so isolated in Australia as well, it’s really helped us to catch up and stay in touch. Glad it’s helped you in PR; I don’t know where I’d be without the net now either! πŸ˜‰

  7. Hey, cj, I’m catching up after being away. I’ve had the same general, all-purpose email address since 1996! I now have another one for blogging, and yet another for newsletters, but I like having the one I’ve had for a long time, because some friends, and some cousins don’t communicate for ages—even years, and then when they do they can still find me.
    As I am wont to do, I thought long and hard before choosing an email address, so I have one I’m still happy with: part name; part nickname; part philosophical position.
    My newsletter one is a fairly bland name, and I have it because I get a lot of them. I never give my full name when signing up for newsletters, just initials.
    As for your quizzes, the first one tells me I’m an “entertainer”, too. I don’t think I try to be particularly entertaining in email—I feel I’m more an “information sharer”. But it’s true, I don’t just dash them off. I see every piece of communication as a reflection of me so I do try to put some thought and care into them.

    Quiz #2: “You love email but you can have too much of a good thing. It’s easy to spend all day on the net if you’re not careful, so you tell people not to email you too much nonsense and you keep your own messages short and sweet.
    You use email for both work and pleasure, but you know the value of a good face-to-face conversation too. After all, you haven’t fired or dumped anyone by email… yet.”

    Well, I don’t tell people what or what not to email me about; on the other hand I reserve the right not to read or reply if I don’t want to. I have a friend who regularly sends me political and financial news, and gets miffed if I don’t reply with thanks for each one. Oh, Well! πŸ™‚ And I can sometimes ramble on in emails (like I’m doing now!) but I do that in real life, too, so it fits.
    The research article you linked to was interesting. I guess email addresses are the first impression, the first thing that our correspondents see. Never really thought about it, but there are some I get in my mailbox that, even though I know and like the person, make me roll my eyes whenever I see them.
    Your first one is very embarrassing, and, I enjoyed reading about it. πŸ˜‰

    CJ: Wow, that’s a long time to have the same email, Muse! I’ve had one for about six years for the same reason; I still get family members or friends sending the odd message and it always goes to that address. I’ve given them the newer ones but they never listen. It’s a good idea to have a separate email address for a blog, though; it’s just more productive and helps anonymity too.

    I think you’re probably a mix of different email types. You’re definitely an entertainer but maybe you’re a bit of an idea fountain as well. Or an information sharer; that would work too. πŸ™‚ I’m not sure about the second quiz; that result seems more about using the net than an email style… and do people really get dumped by email? Glad I haven’t experienced it yet!

    The first impression we give in real life (our appearance, etc.) is often what people judge us on, so it doesn’t surprise me that our email addresses would do the same thing online. You want your address to seem productive in the same way you want to seem presentable in an interview, and if the email itself is messy, that’s what people will remember, the same way as if you were (or weren’t) articulate in person. I’d like to see another study, though, which takes into account a wider variety of ages. It might get a different result.

    And glad you enjoyed my embarrassment, Muse! I wonder if I’ll ever live it down. πŸ˜‰

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