IBM, MIT Attach Dollar Signs To Online Connections

    April 8, 2009

Two very reputable organizations – IBM Research and MIT’s Sloan School of Management – recently collaborated on a report that’s in part titled "Value of Social Network."  And managers and employees everywhere should know that, according to said organizations, social networks can be quite valuable indeed.

Researchers put together a group of 7,043 volunteers and tracked their (anonymized) electronic communications for three years.  The final report states, "To our knowledge, this is the largest social network ever constructed to study the impact of social networks on information worker productivity."

Network Study

As for what researchers discovered in regards to the worker bee-boss relationship, "[H]aving strong connections to managers is shown to have positive association with revenue generation."  A full $588 in additional monthly revenues is the average result.

It can be good when regular employees talk to each other, too, as contact between one project and another correlated with an extra $115 per month in revenue.

People shouldn’t take this as a good excuse to spend the whole day on Facebook (which just hit the 200 million user mark), though.  Researchers used a definition of "social network" that’s not really up-to-the-minute and looked at emails and instant messages, not pokes and status updates.