Posted February 14, 2008 11:45 am by with 10 comments

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Love is not a usual topic on Marketing Pilgrim. The closest we might come is covering Problogger Darren’s Rowse love letter to AdSense. There’s a fine line between queasiness and sweetness. And it is that time of year.

No one can say Google is heartless (just look at their logo today), but I’d say their love takes a certain practical bent. When you’re curious about how love and technology mix, and you have a decent budget, what do you do? You launch a national survey. Google commissioned Nielsen Online to see how we use email in our romantic relationships.

We use use email, text messages, IM, and probably Twitter to do everything from asking someone on a date to ending a marriage. It’s causing consternation in courtrooms and cultures worldwide.

Though decidedly unromantic I’m sure people have even emailed marriage proposals. The survey included talking to 1,713 people about how they use email (they used one of the following: AOL Mail, Gmail, Hotmail, or Yahoo! Mail).

Here are the results:

  • 1 in 3 survey respondents said they have emailed a love letter
  • Young people are more open to email love letters than older people are: only 14% of 18-24 year olds considered email love letters bad behavior, compared to 43% of respondents over the age of 55
  • Men were more likely than women to have asked someone out on a date via email (26% versus 16%)
  • While 31% of 18-24 year olds thought asking someone out on a date via email was poor form, 42% of respondents aged 55+ felt the same way
  • 1 in 3 men considered “break-up emails” neutral to good email etiquette, whereas only 1 in 7 female respondents agreed
  • 8% of men and 6% of women said they had broken up with someone over email

Here’s my survey – have you sent a love letter via email? If you haven’t it’s not too late!

  • I am actually quite surprised that 33% of men considered a “break-up email”good email etiquette. Although there is certainly no harm in sending a love letter over email, though it does depersonalize it a bit, breaking up with someone via email is definitely not an appropriate way to do it, nor could I imagine it being very effective.

  • I didn’t send an love email but I did send love blog posts since my wife was going to be stuck in the office all day. One each hour so she could check them throughout the day.

    Also, I can’t imagine people thinking it is okay to break up with somebody over email. I would feel pretty cowardly if I ever did something like that.

  • Breaking up over email – sort of like Brittney dumping K-fed via text message – super classy!


  • Janet Meiners

    I’ve had experience both breaking up and being broken up with through email. While it can be effective, it’s a bit cold.
    BTW, if you have Google Docs, pull it up. It’s arrayed in pink with a Happy Valentine’s Day message. How lovey is that?

  • TomasH

    I’ve sent several love e-mails over the past few years, but breaking up via e-mail? Cowardly and very cold indeed… not my style.
    One of my ex-girfriends broke up with me via text message almost 6 years ago – after a nice date actually!!! But nevermind that, I found someone else afterwards and we’ve celebrated our “5 years together” anniversary this Xmas 🙂

  • I met my wife (should say wives’ actually – second time lucky as they say!) at work and our relationship was certainly helped along by e-mails.

    Not that we got as much work done as we should in that original honeymoon period. Blimey, thinking back, I just hope nobody was monitoring the mails !

    Breaking up by e-mail or text is downright cowardly though….that’s why most of us men prefer it that way – lol

  • The only thing worse than a break-up email is a break-up text. It is so immature. Sad to say, its becoming way too commmon these days.

  • You are so right, romance is not a word oft seen in these pages. Totallyl caught my eye!

  • That’s true Alexis. How long before you could have a virtual divorce as well?

  • My friend was just dumped via text! the irony.