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 the 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!


Pinterest Group Boards: Pros and Cons

Pinterest Group Boards: Pros and Cons

Pinterest Group Boards: Pros and Cons

If you’ve been on Pinterest for any length of time, then you’ve been invited to participate in a group board. A group board is easily created by having two or more people able to pin on a single board. For some businesses, a group board is a wonderful idea. For others, a group board can quickly become an out-of-control party, akin to spending a long weekend in Vegas with alcoholics.

First, the Pros

Pro: A Place for Friends to Gather

Pinterest Group Boards: Pros and Cons

Pinterest Group Boards: Pros and Cons

A group board can be a place for friends to share things that they find entertaining, educational, or funny. For instance, your group of knitters might like to share “yarn bombs,” those funny knitted thing-a-mabobbers that have been popping up all over the place! Finally a place to share those images, right?

Pro: More Eyes on Your Product

For a brand or startup, a shared board can mean more sales. For instance, if you sell iPhone apps, you might consider finding and then asking to join a large group board, and then regularly pinning to that board. More eyes on your product means more repins, likes and comments, and potentially more business.

Pro: More Overall Likes

Another pro is that when someone likes your group board, you’ll probably get more followers. If you’re a brand, in particular, I recommend having a group board and inviting others in your circle to pin to it. When people find your group board, chances are they’ll also find you and that may cause more people to find your brand.


Now for the downside of group boards.

Con: Spammy Pinning

I’ve seen some group boards taken over by spammers while the group owner does nothing. And I’ve left those group boards because what they said they were didn’t jive with what they became. By the way, here are a few ways to avoid newbie mistakes on Pinterest.

Con: You Don’t “Own” New Follows

The person who starts the group board gets to count the new follows on their account. So if you’re trying to get new followers, that might bother you. In that case, you can start your own group board!

Con: You Can’t Control the Board Cover

On boards you own, you can create a pleasing tableau by matching the themes of the board covers, which you can’t do if you didn’t create a board.

What Do You Like or Dislike About Group Boards?

I’d love to hear from you!


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