The Novel In Your Outbox

Jan 13 2013 @ 7:21pm

Megan Garber considers just how much writing we put into our emails over the course of a year:

Here's one estimate: 41,638 words. That's per the personal assistant app Cue, which integrates services like contacts, calendars, and especially email — and which recently released data based on a sampling of its users in 2012. While the average number of email messages each user received last year was (a relatively modest) 5,579 — and the average number of those messages each user sent was (an also modest) 879 — the output of words sent was comparatively colossal. To put those 41,638 discrete pieces of communication in perspective, that word count, in the aggregate, is roughly equivalent to a novel that is 166 pages in length. (The industry standard for page length is 250 words per page.) Which makes the average Cue user's email output slightly greater than The Old Man and the Sea (127 pages long), slightly less than The Great Gatsby (182 pages), and just about equal to The Turn of the Screw (165 pages).