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Line app users less patient for replies from partner than family, friends: study

People who are highly dependent on the free communication app Line tend to get irritated if they don't get a reply to their messages within a day, a study recently announced at an academic conference suggested.

    The study, conducted in October 2015 by a group led by Sagami Women's University associate professor Yuki Kato and presented at the Japan Society for Educational Technology conference last month, aimed at finding out the tendencies of Line app users, particularly on how long they can wait for replies before they become irritated or angry. The research group surveyed a total of 317 students (128 men and 189 women) at several universities in the Tokyo metropolitan area with paper-based questionnaires.

    First, the respondents were divided into two groups -- one that is highly dependent on the Line app and a not-so-dependent group, and asked about messages they send to four types of addressees -- family and relatives, a partner or love interests, friends, and older acquaintances. On the assumption that the respondents send Line messages to these addressees at noon, the survey asked how long it would take for them to develop negative feelings before receiving a reply in a 10-stage timetable between "1 p.m. that day" and "at noon on the following day or later" and the researchers evaluated the median time. The messages were also divided into "read" and "unread."

    As a result, those who were highly dependent on the messenger app said they would get irritated if they didn't receive a reply by 11 p.m. the same day regardless of the message being read or unread. The shortest time in which this group of respondents could wait before getting annoyed was five hours for a reply from their partner to a message that has already been read. The respondents said they could wait until 9 p.m. the same day for replies from their family members and friends to a read message, and for a reply from their partner to an unread text.

    Meanwhile, most respondents in the not-so-dependent group said they could wait until the following morning or noon for a reply before feeling irritated, but when it came to a reply from their partner, they can only wait until 11 p.m. on the same day that they send a message.

    Kato explained the significance of the study, saying, "It might give the impression that users could wait for a reply for longer than expected, but that's because they gave generalized answers in the survey. We were able to understand tendencies (among university student Line users)." He added, "The cause of Line-related trouble is that people believe the person on the receiving end is using the app in the same way as they do. I hope people become aware that each person responds differently to social media."

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