Jen Juneau
September 04, 2015 11:18 am

In 2015, it’s become ingrained in us to use technology to get our messages across as quickly as possible. Through apps like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, we can say what we want at the drop of a hat without having to worry too much about IRL repercussions. Even texting keeps getting simpler, as we (myself included) lean on things like emojis to get our point across when we don’t really know how, or have time, to put what we’re feeling into words.

When you think about it, we’ve come so far from the passing-folded-notes-in-class days, that even e-mail has begun to feel a tad outdated. Maybe that’s why, according to a study conducted by researchers from Indiana University (IU), e-mail has potentially become the most effective technological platform for communicating our romantic feelings.

Alan R. Dennis, a business professor at IU’s Kelley School of Business, and co-author Taylor M. Wells, a California State University-Sacramento assistant professor of management information systems, surveyed 72 college-age individuals to determine how they felt when sending e-mails as opposed to participating in communication via voicemail. Using psycho-physiological measures, Dennis and Wells discovered that e-mail composers felt more “emotionally aroused” and used more thoughtful language than they did when leaving a voicemail.

Though the study didn’t explore the effects of e-mail when compared to a face-to-face conversation, Dennis said the following regarding its outcome, covered in a paper titled “To Email or Not to Email: The Impact of Media on Psychophysiological Responses and Emotional Content in Utilitarian and Romantic Communication”: “The bottom line is that e-mail is much better when you want to convey some information that you want someone to think about.”

And it’s true. E-mail allows you to think twice, edit, and re-edit what you want to say before hitting the Send button. And if we REALLY screw up, we can always hit the Retract E-mail button. Can’t do that with a voicemail or letter. Plus, doesn’t it just kind of warm your heart when someone takes the time to e-mail you rather than just sending a “what you up to this weekend?” text?

In short, it’s official: In a world filled with 140-character limits, worrying about when to text, or about how many followers we have, it looks like e-mail is well on its way to being recognized as the modern romantic communication gesture. (Sorry letter writing.) Maybe Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan were onto something after all. Now only if we can figure out how to put e-mails in bottles and send them out to sea . . . though I guess that’s what printers are for. E-mails to Juliet, anyone?

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[Image via Shutterstock]

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