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Monday, 29 November, 1999, 01:52 GMT
Men love online chat-ups
mail E-male: Men are on the write lines for online love

Men are virtual Romeos who love nothing better than chatting someone up online, according to a survey.

They are five times as likely as women to flirt online, Hotmail researchers found.

However, when it comes down the nitty gritty, men it seems just can't hack it.

E-mail is now an intrinsic part of people's lives
Natalie Taylor
Women happily talk about their sex lives via e-mail - but men don't. Not a single man in the survey mentioned sex.

Hotmail analysed more than 38,000 uncensored e-mails sent by 100 volunteers over a two-month period.

Other key findings include:

  • One in three men lie about the size of their e-mail inboxes by over-estimating the number of e-mails they receive - proving that size matters as much online as anywhere else.

    Top 10 e-mail subjects
    Conversation - 34%
    Socialising - 15%
    Work/study- 9%
    Computer chat - 9%
    Jokes - 8%
    News of family/friends - 6%
    Football - 3.4%
    Travel/holidays - 3.4%
    Music/film - 3.4%
    Politics/current affairs- 3%
  • Far from stopping people talking to each other, e-mail is encouraging communication between people - one of the most common uses is to sort out social arrangements.

  • Britain is a nation of e-mail enthusiasts - some of us send and receive 140+ e-mails a day and have an average of 33 regular people we correspond with.

    Almost half of us (46%) have more than one e-mail address and we use them to deal with different areas of our life, for example, one for personal and one for work use.

    Natalie Taylor, Hotmail marketing manager, said: "E-mail is now an intrinsic part of people's lives and far from inhibiting everyday communication between friends, family and colleagues, the study reveals it's actually precipitating them."

    The survey also identified a new category to add to the UK's myriad social class system - the e-mail animal.

    One in six (17%) of those in the survey fell into this group. They ran their whole lives through e-mail, in some cases receiving hundreds of e-mails every day.

    Size matters: Men over-estimate their inboxes
    They are prone to e-mail flirtations, particularly with colleagues at work and are likely to be compulsive checkers - opening their inboxes as soon as any new e-mail is received.

    Those men who fall into this category have perhaps been reading about the successful relationships that have sprung from e-mail friendships.

    However, they should always bear in mind the tale of Englishman Ian Fowler.

    He fell in love with mother-of-three Debbie Lynn Horton after meeting her on a chat site.

    They continued the romance by telephone for nine months and made plans for a wedding.

    But six days after Mr Fowler, 38, a photocopy machine engineer from Enfield, sold his belongings and arrived in Georgia he discovered he had been duped.

    His girlfriend took his $1,400 savings, leaving him broke and stranded in a motel.

    "The next time a woman asks me for my e-mail address I'll refuse to give it to her," he said ruefully.

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