How to Use Network Analysis to Help You Understand Social Media

Marc Smith on #DigiBlogChat

Marc Smith on #DigiBlogChat

This week on #DigiBlogChat, our Twitter Chat every Tuesday at 1:00 p.m. Pacific Time, our special guest is Marc Smith, of theĀ Social Media Research Foundation. The chat will take place Tuesday, February 27, 2018. Here are some preliminary vocabulary and ideas.

The Shape of #DigiBlogChat

The Shape of #DigiBlogChat

The Shape of Social Conversations

Marc looks at the shape of social media conversations to see who’s connecting, conversing, or broadcasting. Did you ever think about social media having a shape? Me, neither. Not until recently. The graph above shows the shape of the #DigiBlogChat hashtag.

Measuring the Shapes

“Networks are collections of connections. Social media allows people to author connections with one another – by liking, linking, following, friending, favoriting, rating, reviewing, replying, and sharing. In aggregate, these collections of connections have a shape. Network analysis is about measuring that shape as well as calculating the position of each person within the larger structure.” ~ Marc Smith

How is a Network Approach Different?

“There is a difference between volume and structure. Today, most tools focus on the volumes of things: followers, likes, retweets, etc. In contrast, a network approach has a focus on the structure that is created when people connect with one another. People often connect, but they do not do so in the same shape or structure – even if there are the same number of people.” ~ Marc Smith (emphasis mine)

Network Vocabulary

What are the core concepts and terms in networks?

  • Vertex = “the thing”
  • Edge = “the connection between two things”
  • Group = a collection of vertices
  • Centrality = a position of a vertex “in the middle of things”
  • Bridge = a vertex with an edge that connects to a vertex in a different group
  • Density = how interconnected everyone is to everyone
  • Centralization = how connected everyone is to just one or a few others (“hubs”)

Wikipedia for More Information

These definitions from Wikipedia may help provide more information:

Want to Learn More?

Learn with us on #DigiBlogChat on Twitter, Tuesday at 1:00 p.m. We’re on Twitter every Tuesday at the same time if you miss this chat. It’s a big, friendly group, and we’d be glad to have you join in!


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