What's *Your* E-Mail Address Worth?
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IBM and MIT recently conducted an analysis of social networks inside IBM.
As the study's introduction explained, it "presents new empirical evidence on the relationship between information worker productivity and social capital generated from social networks."
Writer Stephen Baker summarized the research in a recent BusinessWeek article, explaining that this research "assign[ed] a dollar value to e-mail interaction with an employee's managers."
Out of several thousand consultants inside IBM, those with strong virtual links to a manager produced an average of $588 of revenue per month over the norm.
The research also found that the average email contact was worth $948 in revenue.
To discover this insight, Baker writes that the researchers used mathematical formulas to analyze the email traffic, address books, and buddy lists of 2,600 IBM consultants over the course of the year.
So, all you virtual wallflowers out there, it's time to start doing some serious social networking...that is, if you want to keep your organizational capital up there with the rest of the big boys and girls.
You can read the full research report here.
From where I sit, the implications of this research are profound.
If there are some individuals in an organization who are more effective in socializing ideas, initiatives, etc. in the organization, don't I want to know who those individuals are?
Wouldn't I want to improve my organization's competitive advantage by giving those "stars" the opportunity to maximize their reach and impact, both inside and outside the organization?
One can also imagine scenarios where the network topology of an organization is mapped to understand better who the key influencers are internally, for the purpose of ensuring one's salespeople are talking to the most influential individuals throughout the organization, from top to bottom.
What do you think?
What's your email address worth?
And do you think there's value in this type of research? Potentially other uses beyond some of these scenarios?