You are here
Study: 15 Percent of Work Email is Gossip
Researchers at Georgia Tech say that the average corporate email user sends 112 emails a day and that one out of every seven (14.7 percent, to be exact) can be called gossip.
Assistant Professor Eric Gilbert of the School of Interactive Computing examined hundreds of thousands of emails from Enron (makes sense, it's not like anyone there was doing their actual jobs) and found that gossip was pervasive from the cubicles to the board room.
“Gossip gets a bad rap,” said Gilbert, an expert in social computing who runs the Comp.Social Lab at Georgia Tech. “When you say ‘gossip,’ most people immediately have a negative interpretation, but it’s actually a very important form of communication. Even tiny bits of information, like ‘Eric said he’d be late for this meeting,’ add up; after just a few of those messages, you start to get an impression that Eric is a late person. Gossip is generally how we know what we know about each other, and for this study we viewed it simply as a means to share social information.”
Enron's 600,000 messages, which were purchased following the company’s bankruptcy and are now freely available for study, represent the world’s largest publicly accessible body of naturally occurring emails. Researchers say the emails are representative of most workplaces, although we have to believe so they might skew high for emails containing words such as "Systemic Accounting Fraud Fridays" and "Where the hell is the shredder?"