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« Social Networking in the Blogosphere: Blog Roll vs. Links in Posts | Main | Social Bookmarking in the Enterprise – IBM’s Internal Tagging Tool - Dogear »

February 22, 2006


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Noel Guinane

This is a very interesting subject. I would like to ask, in reference to Kate Ehrlich's point that "it makes things visible and then they can become actionable." ... exactly what does Social Networking Analysis make visible and how is it useful to a business?

Is it just a popularity survey?

Bill Ives

I think makes visble the communication patterns of the group studied. How those are interpreted is up to the intelligence of the researcher and likely requires additional probing. It could be a popularity rating as you suggest or something more meaningful. I see SNA as a starting point and not a final conclusion.

Noel Guinane

Bill, I think it makes visible the communication patterns of a group only to the senior management team. Since it takes social popularity as its only defining characteristic - excluding what I think are more important factors when considering a person's worth; their character, judgment and accomplishments - how does it help a business to know who is talking to who and who likes who? It looks to me like a gossip mill that actively encourages internal politicking to flourish.

I'm not sure it is a good idea to mandate a set of collaborative behaviors and rate people based on their adherence to them while ignoring the real contribution they bring to a business, i.e. their character, experience and accomplishments.

As I'm often saying: the more of a stranglehold bureaucracy gets on people, the less people pay attention to the rules. The more micro-managed we are, the less the authority is respected. Not every aspect of our lives requires a policy manual.

Tomoaki Sawada

Bill, apprecaite well organizaed blog always. Researcher at IBM Hursley Lab in UK did a interesting thing about visualizing social networks within IBM Blog communities.

They are trying to make results of SNA network more intuitive to the users. Hope you find this intereating too

Bill Ives

Thanks Tomoaki - Your blog looked very interesting. Another tool for looking at the networking between blogs is iQuest ( They have a software suite that can “analyze anything with words or symbols – articles, web pages, reports, memos, e-mails, telephone call logs, transcripts, message boards, blogs, survey responses and more – to show who is talking to whom, what they talk about, when they talk and where those conversations are taking place.” It contains a very useful visualization capability that also shows these relationships over time. A while back they did a visualization of who links to my blog and who links to these linkers and I could watch a movie of how these patterns emerged over time.

Tomoaki Sawada

This not at all directly related to the subject discussed in this post. But interesting application, called Checkmates(Check your mates) as an example of mashup (wonder if I am using the term correctly)

Mobile Phone + People (Social) + Map

It is now being demonstrated at O'reilly Emerging Tech 2006 conference.


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