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The Value of Social Network, by IBM research

From http://smallblue.research.ibm.com/projects/snvalue/

The goal of this project is to integrate financial capital, human capital and social network analysis to formally and quantitively define and model social capital. Our interest is to find out what are the real dollar value of social networks.

Nine hundred and forty-eight dollars.

That’s the annual dollar value of each person in your email address book at work, according to a novel IBM study published in the Winter Information Systems Conference in February 2009.

IBM researchers, together with researchers in MIT, were looking to scientifically determine how valuable electronic social networks are, such as those in a group that primarily communicates electronically. Using mathematical formulas, honed by observing the email traffic and financial success of 2,600 anonymized far flung IBM consultants collaborating on thousands of projects during one year, researchers found that not all email relationships were equal.

In fact, they found that people with strong email ties with a manager, or had a more diverse circle of correspondents, enjoyed greater financial success than those who were more aloof. Teams with an even mix of genders also performed well financially. Individuals have more diverse networks and thus have more people who are reachable within 2 social steps (i.e., your friends’ friends’ friends.) is valuable. Too intensive communications to the same people have negative impact, perhaps because of the repetitive redundant information exchange.