The temporal statistics exhibited by written correspondence appear to be media dependent, with features which have so far proven difficult to characterize. We explain the origin of these difficulties by disentangling the role of spontaneous activity from decision-based prioritizing processes in human dynamics, clocking all waiting times through each agent's `proper time' measured by activity. This unveils the same fundamental patterns in written communication across all media (letters, email, sms), with response times displaying truncated power-law behavior and average exponents near -3/2. When standard time is used, the response time probabilities are theoretically predicted to exhibit a bi-modal character, which is empirically borne out by our new years-long data on email. These novel perspectives on the temporal dynamics of human correspondence should aid in the analysis of interaction phenomena in general, including resource management, optimal pricing and routing, information sharing, emergency handling.
Hidden scaling patterns and universality in written communication
M. Formentin, A. Lovison, A. Maritan, G. Zanzotto