Email makes you popularHate your inbox? Think again. All that emailing you do could be doing two things for you. According to a small study of Australian schoolchildren, email makes you more intelligent and increases your popularity at the same time. The research found that boys in particular were more popular the more emailing they did. Plus, their cognitive abilities were higher. So, at first sight, it seems that email makes you more intelligent.

But this study is a lovely example of chicken and egg. Are the pupils more intelligent because they are using email, or are they using email more because they are more intelligent? Sadly, the study wasn’t designed to answer that type of question. What it did show was that individuals who use email are deemed to be more popular by their peers. The researchers related this finding to older studies with school lunch boxes. If a child had the “right” lunch box, with the in-vogue cartoon character on the front, they were deemed to be popular. In other words, “follow the pack” and people like you.

This has important implications for your online business. The “pack” at the moment is busy doing Twitter and Facebook. If you are not, you face psychological exclusion rather like the child with the wrong lunch box. It may be hard for you to find a business case to justify constant Tweeting, but to be “out of line” is something that is hard to measure and does not appear on your balance sheet anyway. But affect your balance sheet it will. Companies that go out of favour struggle to win back their custom. What this study demonstrates is how easy it actually is to stay in favour.

Besides which, by using the latest technologies it may well be you increase your intelligence and your cognitive abilities.

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