Salvatore Parise, Eoin Whelan and Steve Todd in MIT Sloan Management Review: “New research suggests that employees with a diverse Twitter network — one that exposes them to people and ideas they don’t already know — tend to generate better ideas…. A multitude of empirical studies confirm what Jobs intuitively knew. The more diverse a person’s social network, the more likely that person is to be innovative. A diverse network provides exposure to people from different fields who behave and think differently. Good ideas emerge when the new information received is combined with what a person already knows. But in today’s digitally connected world, many relationships are formed and maintained online through public social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Increasingly, employees are using such platforms for work-related purposes.
Studying Twitter Networks
Can Twitter make employees more innovative? In particular, does having a greater diversity of virtual Twitter connections mean that good ideas are more likely to surface, as in the face-to-face world? To answer this question, we used a technique called organizational network analysis (ONA) to create visual representations of employee Twitter networks. We studied ten employee groups across five companies in a range of industries….
….in analyzing the structure of each employee’s Twitter network, we found that there was a positive relationship between the amount of diversity in one’s Twitter network and the quality of ideas submitted. However, Twitter activity and size measures (such as the number of tweets, number of followers and number of people followed) were not correlated with personal innovation….(More)“