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Social Network Analysis (SNA)
including a tutorial on concepts and methods
Social Media – Dr. Giorgos Cheliotis (gcheliotis@nus.edu.sg)
Communications and New Media, National University of Singapore
Background: Network Analysis
SNA has its origins in both social science and in the
broader fields of network analysis and graph theory
Network analysis concerns itself with the
formulation and solution of problems that have a
network structure; such structure is usually
captured in a graph (see the circled structure to the right)
Graph theory provides a set of abstract concepts
and methods for the analysis of graphs. These, in
combination with other analytical tools and with
methods developed specifically for the visualization
and analysis of social (and other) networks, form
the basis of what we call SNA methods.

Newman et al, 2006

Newman et al, 2006

But SNA is not just a methodology; it is a unique
perspective on how society functions. Instead of
focusing on individuals and their attributes, or on
macroscopic social structures, it centers on relations
between individuals, groups, or social institutions
2

A very early example of network analysis
comes from the city of Königsberg (now
Kaliningrad). Famous mathematician Leonard
Euler used a graph to prove that there is no
path that crosses each of the city’s bridges
only once (Newman et al, 2006).

CNM Social Media Module – Giorgos Cheliotis (gcheliotis@nus.edu.sg)
Background: Social Science
Studying society from a network perspective is to
study individuals as embedded in a network of
relations and seek explanations for social behavior
in the structure of these networks rather than in
the individuals alone. This ‘network perspective’
becomes increasingly relevant in a society that
Manuel Castells has dubbed the network society.
SNA has a long history in social science, although
much of the work in advancing its methods has also
come from mathematicians, physicists, biologists
and computer scientists (because they too study
networks of different types)

Wellman, 1998

This is an early depiction of what we call an
‘ego’ network, i.e. a personal network. The
graphic depicts varying tie strengths via
concentric circles (Wellman, 1998)
3

The idea that networks of relations are important
in social science is not new, but widespread
availability of data and advances in computing and
methodology have made it much easier now to
apply SNA to a range of problems

CNM Social Media Module – Giorgos Cheliotis (gcheliotis@nus.edu.sg)
More examples from social science
These visualizations depict the flow of communications in
an organization before and after the introduction of a
content management system (Garton et al, 1997)

A visualization of US bloggers shows clearly how they tend
to link predominantly to blogs supporting the same party,
forming two distinct clusters (Adamic and Glance, 2005)

4

CNM Social Media Module – Giorgos Cheliotis (gcheliotis@nus.edu.sg)
Background: Other Domains
(Social) Network Analysis has found
applications in many domains beyond social
science, although the greatest advances have
generally been in relation to the study of
structures generated by humans
Computer scientists for example have used
(and even developed new) network analysis
methods to study webpages, Internet traffic,
information dissemination, etc.
One example in life sciences is the use of
network analysis to study food chains in
different ecosystems
Mathematicians and (theoretical) physicists
usually focus on producing new and complex
methods for the analysis of networks, that can
be used by anyone, in any domain where
networks are relevant
5

Broder et al, 2000

In this example researchers collected a very large
amount of data on the links between web pages and
found out that the Web consists of a core of densely
inter-linked pages, while most other web pages either
link to or are linked to from that core. It was one of the
first such insights into very large scale human-generated
structures (Broder et al, 2000).

CNM Social Media Module – Giorgos Cheliotis (gcheliotis@nus.edu.sg)
Practical applications
Businesses use SNA to analyze and improve
communication flow in their organization, or with
their networks of partners and customers
Law enforcement agencies (and the army) use SNA
to identify criminal and terrorist networks from
traces of communication that they collect; and then
identify key players in these networks
Social Network Sites like Facebook use basic
elements of SNA to identify and recommend
potential friends based on friends-of-friends
Civil society organizations use SNA to uncover
conflicts of interest in hidden connections between
government bodies, lobbies and businesses
Network operators (telephony, cable, mobile) use
SNA-like methods to optimize the structure and
capacity of their networks
6

CNM Social Media Module – Giorgos Cheliotis (gcheliotis@nus.edu.sg)
Why and when to use SNA





Whenever you are studying a social network, either offline or online, or when
you wish to understand how to improve the effectiveness of the network
When you want to visualize your data so as to uncover patterns in
relationships or interactions
When you want to follow the paths that information (or basically anything)
follows in social networks
When you do quantitative research, although for qualitative research a
network perspective is also valuable
(a)

(b)



The range of actions and opportunities afforded to individuals are often a function of their
positions in social networks; uncovering these positions (instead of relying on common
assumptions based on their roles and functions, say as fathers, mothers, teachers,
workers) can yield more interesting and sometimes surprising results
A quantitative analysis of a social network can help you identify different types of actors in
the network or key players, whom you can focus on for your qualitative research

SNA is clearly also useful in analyzing SNS’s, OC’s and social media in general,
to test hypotheses on online behavior and CMC, to identify the causes for
dysfunctional communities or networks, and to promote social cohesion and
growth in an online community
7

CNM Social Media Module – Giorgos Cheliotis (gcheliotis@nus.edu.sg)
Basic Concepts






8

Networks
Tie Strength
Key Players
Cohesion

How to represent various social networks
How to identify strong/weak ties in the network
How to identify key/central nodes in network
Measures of overall network structure

CNM Social Media Module – Giorgos Cheliotis (gcheliotis@nus.edu.sg)
Representing relations as networks
Anne
Anne

1

Jim
Jim

Mary
Mary

2

John
John

3

Can we study their
interactions as a
network?
4

Communication

1

Graph
2

Anne: Jim, tell the Murrays they’re invited
Jim:

Mary, you and your dad should come for dinner!

Jim:

Mr. Murray, you should both come for dinner

3

Anne: Mary, did Jim tell you about the dinner? You must come.
John:

Mary, are you hungry?

…
9

Vertex
(node)
CNM Social Media Module – Giorgos Cheliotis (gcheliotis@nus.edu.sg)

4
Edge (link)
Entering data on a directed graph
Edge list

Graph (directed)
1

2

3

10

Adjacency matrix
4

CNM Social Media Module – Giorgos Cheliotis (gcheliotis@nus.edu.sg)
Representing an undirected graph
Directed
(who contacts whom)
1

Edge list remains the same
But interpretation
is different now

2

3

1

4
Adjacency matrix becomes symmetric

2

3

4

Undirected
(who knows whom)
11

CNM Social Media Module – Giorgos Cheliotis (gcheliotis@nus.edu.sg)
Ego networks and ‘whole’ networks
1

‘whole’ network*

2

ego

1

2

3
go
’s e
3

3

wo
net

rk

5

4
6

alter

7

3 ’s
eg
wit o net
hou wo
t eg rk
o**

5

4
1

2

isolate
4

5

* no studied network is ‘whole’ in practice; it’s usually a partial picture of one’s real life networks (boundary specification problem)
** ego not needed for analysis as all alters are by definition connected to ego
12

CNM Social Media Module – Giorgos Cheliotis (gcheliotis@nus.edu.sg)
Basic Concepts



13

Networks
Tie Strength
Key Players
Cohesion

How to represent various social networks
How to identify strong/weak ties in the network
How to identify key/central nodes in network
Measures of overall network structure

CNM Social Media Module – Giorgos Cheliotis (gcheliotis@nus.edu.sg)
Adding weights to edges

Edge list: add column of weights

30

1

(directed or undirected)

2
22

5
3

37

2
4

Weights could be:
•Frequency of interaction in
period of observation
•Number of items
exchanged in period
•Individual perceptions of
strength of relationship
•Costs in communication or
exchange, e.g. distance
•Combinations of these
14

Adjacency matrix: add weights instead of 1

CNM Social Media Module – Giorgos Cheliotis (gcheliotis@nus.edu.sg)
Edge weights as relationship strength




Edges can represent interactions, flows of
information or goods,
similarities/affiliations, or social relations
Specifically for social relations, a ‘proxy’
for the strength of a tie can be:








the frequency of interaction (communication)
or the amount of flow (exchange)
reciprocity in interaction or flow
the type of interaction or flow between the
two parties (e.g., intimate or not)
other attributes of the nodes or ties (e.g., kin
relationships)
The structure of the nodes’ neighborhood (e.g.
many mutual ‘friends’)

Surveys and interviews allows us to
establish the existence of mutual or onesided strength/affection with greater
certainty, but proxies above are also useful
15

CNM Social Media Module – Giorgos Cheliotis (gcheliotis@nus.edu.sg)
Homophily, transitivity, and bridging


Homophily is the tendency to relate to people with
similar characteristics (status, beliefs, etc.)







Transitivity in SNA is a property of ties: if there is a
tie between A and B and one between B and C,
then in a transitive network A and C will also be
connected






It leads to the formation of homogeneous groups
(clusters) where forming relations is easier
Extreme homogenization can act counter to
innovation and idea generation (heterophily is thus
desirable in some contexts)
Homophilous ties can be strong or weak

Strong ties are more often transitive than weak ties;
transitivity is therefore evidence for the existence of
strong ties (but not a necessary or sufficient condition)
Transitivity and homophily together lead to the
formation of cliques (fully connected clusters)

Bridges are nodes and edges that connect across
groups



16

Homophily

Strong

Heterophily

Weak

TIES

Transitivity

Bridging

CLUSTERING
Interlinked
groups

Cliques

Facilitate inter-group communication, increase social
cohesion, and help spur innovation
They are usually weak ties, but not every weak tie is a
bridge
CNM Social Media Module – Giorgos Cheliotis (gcheliotis@nus.edu.sg)

Social
network
Basic Concepts



17

Networks
Tie Strength
Key Players
Cohesion

How to represent various social networks
How to identify strong/weak ties in the network
How to identify key/central nodes in network
Measures of overall network structure

CNM Social Media Module – Giorgos Cheliotis (gcheliotis@nus.edu.sg)
Note on computational examples




Results may vary across different software packages (e.g. when you
use NodeXL or UCINET), mainly because SNA metrics can take
various roughly equivalent forms



Consult the documentation of the software you are using when in
doubt



18

In the examples that follow values were calculated with the sna
and igraph packages for the R programming environment, which is
widely used by specialists in the field (but is not the most userfriendly)

In most cases, even if there are some differences in the output of
your preferred software when compared to these notes, results
will be qualitatively the same and thus interpretation will also be
the same – but you have been warned!

CNM Social Media Module – Giorgos Cheliotis (gcheliotis@nus.edu.sg)
Degree centrality


A node’s (in-) or (out-)degree is the
number of links that lead into or
out of the node



Often used as measure of a node’s
degree of connectedness and hence
also influence and/or popularity



Useful in assessing which nodes are
central with respect to spreading
information and influencing others
in their immediate ‘neighborhood’

1

2

3

In an undirected graph they are of
course identical



Hypothetical graph

2

4

1

3
5

4
1

6

4

7

1

Nodes 3 and 5 have the highest degree (4)
Values computed with the sna package in the R programming environment. Definitions of centrality measures may vary slightly in other software.
19

CNM Social Media Module – Giorgos Cheliotis (gcheliotis@nus.edu.sg)
Paths and shortest paths










A path between two nodes is any
sequence of non-repeating nodes that
connects the two nodes
The shortest path between two nodes is
the path that connects the two nodes
with the shortest number of edges (also
called the distance between the nodes)
In the example to the right, between
nodes 1 and 4 there are two shortest
paths of length 2: {1,2,4} and {1,3,4}
Other, longer paths between the two
nodes are {1,2,3,4}, {1,3,2,4}, {1,2,5,3,4}
and {1,3,5,2,4} (the longest paths)
Shorter paths are desirable when speed
of communication or exchange is
desired (often the case in many studies, but

Hypothetical graph
1
2
3

sometimes not, e.g. in networks that spread
disease)
20

Shortest path(s)

CNM Social Media Module – Giorgos Cheliotis (gcheliotis@nus.edu.sg)

5
4
Betweenness centrality









For a given node v, calculate the
number of shortest paths between
nodes i and j that pass through v, and
divide by all shortest paths between
nodes i and j
Sum the above values for all node
pairs i,j
Sometimes normalized such that the
highest value is 1or that the sum of all
betweenness centralities in the
network is 1
Shows which nodes are more likely to
be in communication paths between
other nodes
Also useful in determining points
where the network would break apart
(think who would be cut off if nodes 3
or 5 would disappear)

0
1

6.5

0

2

1.5

3
5

4
0

6

9

7

0

Node 5 has higher betweenness centrality than 3
Values computed with the sna package in the R programming environment. Definitions of centrality measures may vary slightly in other software.
21

CNM Social Media Module – Giorgos Cheliotis (gcheliotis@nus.edu.sg)
Closeness centrality






Calculate the mean length of all
shortest paths from a node to all
other nodes in the network (i.e.
how many hops on average it takes
to reach every other node)
Take the reciprocal of the above
value so that higher values are
‘better’ (indicate higher closeness)
like in other measures of centrality
It is a measure of reach, i.e. the
speed with which information can
reach other nodes from a given
starting node
Nodes 3 and 5 have the highest (i.e. best)
closeness, while node 2 fares almost as well

0.5
1

0.75

0.46

2

3
5

4
0.46

0.67

6

0.75

7

0.46

Note: Sometimes closeness is calculated without taking the reciprocal of the
mean shortest path length. Then lower values are ‘better’.

Values computed with the sna package in the R programming environment. Definitions of centrality measures may vary slightly in other software.
22

CNM Social Media Module – Giorgos Cheliotis (gcheliotis@nus.edu.sg)
Eigenvector centrality








A node’s eigenvector centrality is
proportional to the sum of the
eigenvector centralities of all nodes
directly connected to it
In other words, a node with a high
eigenvector centrality is connected to
other nodes with high eigenvector
centrality
This is similar to how Google ranks
web pages: links from highly linked-to
pages count more
Useful in determining who is
connected to the most connected
nodes
Node 3 has the highest eigenvector centrality,
closely followed by 2 and 5

0.36
1

0.54

0.19

2

3
5

4
0.17

0.49

6

0.49

7

0.17

Note: The term ‘eigenvector’ comes from mathematics (matrix algebra),
but it is not necessary for understanding how to interpret this measure

Values computed with the sna package in the R programming environment. Definitions of centrality measures may vary slightly in other software.
23

CNM Social Media Module – Giorgos Cheliotis (gcheliotis@nus.edu.sg)
Interpretation of measures (1)
Centrality measure

Interpretation in social networks



Degree

How many people can this person reach directly?



Betweenness

How likely is this person to be the most direct route
between two people in the network?



Closeness

How fast can this person reach everyone in the
network?

Eigenvector

How well is this person connected to other wellconnected people?



24

CNM Social Media Module – Giorgos Cheliotis (gcheliotis@nus.edu.sg)
Interpretation of measures (2)
Centrality measure

Other possible interpretations…



Degree

In network of music collaborations: how many
people has this person collaborated with?



Betweenness

In network of spies: who is the spy though whom most
of the confidential information is likely to flow?



Closeness

In network of sexual relations: how fast will an STD
spread from this person to the rest of the network?

Eigenvector

In network of paper citations: who is the author that is
most cited by other well-cited authors?



25

CNM Social Media Module – Giorgos Cheliotis (gcheliotis@nus.edu.sg)
Identifying sets of key players










In the network to the right, node 10
is the most central according to
degree centrality
But nodes 3 and 5 together will reach
more nodes
Moreover the tie between them is
critical; if severed, the network will
break into two isolated sub-networks
It follows that other things being
equal, players 3 and 5 together are
more ‘key’ to this network than 10

1
0

2

10
3

5
8

4

Thinking about sets of key players is
helpful!

26

9

CNM Social Media Module – Giorgos Cheliotis (gcheliotis@nus.edu.sg)

6
7
Basic Concepts



27

Networks
Tie Strength
Key Players
Cohesion

How to represent various social networks
How to identify strong/weak ties in the network
How to identify key/central nodes in network
How to characterize a network’s structure

CNM Social Media Module – Giorgos Cheliotis (gcheliotis@nus.edu.sg)
Reciprocity (degree of)


The ratio of the number of relations
which are reciprocated (i.e. there is an
edge in both directions) over the total
number of relations in the network



In the example to the right this would be
2/5=0.4 (whether this is considered high
or low depends on the context)

2

…where two vertices are said to be
related if there is at least one edge
between them



1



A useful indicator of the degree of
mutuality and reciprocal exchange in a
network, which relate to social cohesion



3

Only makes sense in directed graphs
28

4

Reciprocity for network = 0.4

CNM Social Media Module – Giorgos Cheliotis (gcheliotis@nus.edu.sg)
Density










Edge present in network
Possible but not present

A network’s density is the ratio of the number of
edges in the network over the total number of
possible edges between all pairs of nodes (which is
n(n-1)/2, where n is the number of vertices, for an
undirected graph)

1

In the example network to the right
density=5/6=0.83 (i.e. it is a fairly dense network;
opposite would be a sparse network)
It is a common measure of how well connected a
network is (in other words, how closely knit it is) –
a perfectly connected network is called a clique and
has density=1
A directed graph will have half the density of its
undirected equivalent, because there are twice as
many possible edges, i.e. n(n-1)
Density is useful in comparing networks against each
other, or in doing the same for different regions
within a single network
29

2

3

4

density = 5/6 = 0.83

1

2

3
density = 5/12 = 0.42

CNM Social Media Module – Giorgos Cheliotis (gcheliotis@nus.edu.sg)

4
Clustering






Cluster A

A node’s clustering coefficient is the number of
closed triplets in the node’s neighborhood
over the total number of triplets in the
neighborhood. It is also known as transitivity.
E.g., node 1 to the right has a value of 1
because it is only connected to 2 and 3, and
these nodes are also connected to one
another (i.e. the only triplet in the
neighborhood of 1 is closed). We say that
nodes 1,2, and 3 form a clique.
Clustering algorithms identify clusters or
‘communities’ within networks based on
N/a
network structure and specific clustering
criteria (example shown to the right with two
clusters is based on edge betweenness, an
equivalent for edges of the betweenness
centrality presented earlier for nodes)

Cluster B

1
1

0.33

2

3
5

4
N/a

0.67

6

0.17

7

N/a

Network clustering coefficient = 0.375
(3 nodes in each triangle x 2 triangles = 6 closed triplets divided by 16 total)

Values computed with the igraph package in the R programming environment. Definitions of centrality measures may vary slightly in other software.
30

CNM Social Media Module – Giorgos Cheliotis (gcheliotis@nus.edu.sg)
Average and longest distance








The longest shortest path (distance)
between any two nodes in a
network is called the network’s
diameter
The diameter of the network on
the right is 3; it is a useful measure
of the reach of the network (as
opposed to looking only at the total
number of vertices or edges)
It also indicates how long it will
take at most to reach any node in
the network (sparser networks will
generally have greater diameters)
The average of all shortest paths in
a network is also interesting
because it indicates how far apart
any two nodes will be on average
(average distance)
31

1

2
diameter
3
5

4
6

CNM Social Media Module – Giorgos Cheliotis (gcheliotis@nus.edu.sg)

7
Small Worlds
local cluster







A small world is a network that
looks almost random but exhibits a
significantly high clustering coefficient
(nodes tend to cluster locally) and a
relatively short average path length
(nodes can be reached in a few
steps)

bridge

It is a very common structure in
social networks because of
transitivity in strong social ties and
the ability of weak ties to reach
across clusters (see also next page…)
Such a network will have many
clusters but also many bridges
between clusters that help shorten
the average distance between nodes
32

Sketch of small world
structure

You may have heard of the
famous “6 degrees” of
separation

CNM Social Media Module – Giorgos Cheliotis (gcheliotis@nus.edu.sg)
Preferential Attachment
A property of some networks, where, during their evolution and growth in
time, a the great majority of new edges are to nodes with an already high
degree; the degree of these nodes thus increases disproportionately,
compared to most other nodes in the network
The result is a network with
few very highly connected
nodes and many nodes with a
low degree



Such networks are said to
exhibit a long-tailed degree
distribution



short
head

degree



long tail

And they tend to have a smallworld structure!
(so, as it turns out, transitivity and
strong/weak tie characteristics are not
necessary to explain small world structures,
but they are common and can also lead to
such structures)
33

nodes ordered in descending degree
Example of network with
preferential attachment

CNM Social Media Module – Giorgos Cheliotis (gcheliotis@nus.edu.sg)

Sketch of long-tailed
degree distribution
Reasons for preferential attachment

Popularity
We want to be
associated with popular
people, ideas, items, thus
further increasing their
popularity, irrespective of
any objective, measurable
characteristics
Also known as
‘the rich get richer’

34

Quality
We evaluate people and
everything else based on
objective quality criteria,
so higher quality nodes
will naturally attract more
attention, faster
Also known as
‘the good get better’

Mixed model
Among nodes of similar
attributes, those that
reach critical mass first
will become ‘stars’ with
many friends and
followers (‘halo effect’)
May be impossible to
predict who will become a
star, even if quality matters

CNM Social Media Module – Giorgos Cheliotis (gcheliotis@nus.edu.sg)
Core-Periphery Structures


A useful and relatively simple metric of the degree
to which a social network is centralized or
decentralized, is the centralization measure
(usually normalized such that it takes values between 0 and 1)







It is based on calculating the differences in degrees
between nodes; a network that greatly depends on 1-2
highly connected nodes (as a result for example of
preferential attachment) will exhibit greater differences in
degree centrality between nodes
Centralized structures can perform better at some tasks
(like team-based problem-solving requiring coordination),
but are more prone to failure if key players disconnect

Nodes
in core

In addition to centralization, many large groups and
online communities have a core of densely
connected users that are critical for connecting a
much larger periphery




35

Cores can be identified visually, or by examining the
location of high-degree nodes and their joint degree
distributions (do high-degree nodes tend to connect to
other high-degree nodes?)
Bow-tie analysis, famously used to analyze the structure of
the Web, can also be used to distinguish between the core
and other, more peripheral elements in a network (see
earlier example here)

More peripheral clusters
and other structures

CNM Social Media Module – Giorgos Cheliotis (gcheliotis@nus.edu.sg)
Thoughts on Design
How can an online social media platform (and its
administrators) leverage the methods and insights of social
network analysis?
How can it encourage a network perspective among its
users, such that they are aware of their ‘neighborhood’
and can learn how to work with it and/or expand it?
What measures can an online community take to optimize its
network structure?
Example: cliques can be undesirable because they shun newcomers

What would be desirable structures for different types of
online platforms? (not easy to answer)
How can online communities identify and utilize key players
for the benefit of the community?

36

SNA inspired some of the
first SNS’s (e.g. SixDegrees),
but still not used so often in
conjunction with design
decisions – much untapped
potential here

CNM Social Media Module – Giorgos Cheliotis (gcheliotis@nus.edu.sg)
Analyzing your own ego-network

• Use the steps outlined in the following pages
to visualize and analyze your own network
• Think about the key players in your network,
the types of ties that you maintain with them,
identify any clusters or communities within
your network, etc.
• Objective: practice SNA with real data!
• Present your findings in class next week!
37

CNM Social Media Module – Giorgos Cheliotis (gcheliotis@nus.edu.sg)
Visualizing Facebook ego-network online


Launch the TouchGraph Facebook Browser


You should see a visualization of your network like
the one to the right



Make sure to set
to a value that will allow you to see your entire
network (friends ranked according to highest
betweeness centrality according to TouchGraph Help)



Go to “Advanced” and remove all filters on the data
so that settings look like below:

Example TouchGraph Facebook Layout



Note: not possible to export your data for further analysis



Navigate the graph, examine friend
‘ranks’, friend positions in the network,
clusters and what they have in
common, try to identify weak and
strong ties of yours and assess overall
structure of your ego-network

You may also want to try TouchGraph Google Browser (it’s fun!)
38

CNM Social Media Module – Giorgos Cheliotis (gcheliotis@nus.edu.sg)
Exporting data for offline analysis


Data is more useful when you can extract it from an online platform and analyze
with a variety of more powerful tools


Facebook, Twitter and other platforms have public Application Programming Interfaces
(API’s) which allow computer programs to extract data among other things



Web crawlers can also be used to read and extract the data directly from the web pages
which contain them



Doing either of the above on your own will usually require some programming skills



Thankfully, if you have no such experience, you can use free tools built by others :)



Bernie Hogan (Oxford Internet Institute) has developed a Facebook application
that extracts a list of all edges in your ego-network (see instructions on next page)



Also, NodeXL (Windows only, see later slide) currently imports data from: Twitter,
YouTube, Flickr, and your email client!



Let’s start with installing and learning to use NodeXL…

39

CNM Social Media Module – Giorgos Cheliotis (gcheliotis@nus.edu.sg)
Using NodeXL for visualization & analysis


Download and install NodeXL
Windows 7/Vista/XP, requires Excel 2007
(installation may take a while if additional software is
needed for NodeXL to work)



Launch Excel and select
New -> My Templates ->NodeXLGraph.xltx



Go to “Import” and select the appropriate
option for the data you wish to import (for
Facebook import see next slide first!)



Click on
to ask NodeXL to
compute centralities, network density,
clustering coefficients, etc.



Select
to display network graph. You can customize
this using
and
as well as

NodeXL sample screenshot

40

NM4881A Tweep Network (weekly data)

For more info read this
NodeXL tutorial

CNM Social Media Module – Giorgos Cheliotis (gcheliotis@nus.edu.sg)
Exporting Facebook ego-network data
This will explain how to export your Facebook data for analysis with a tool like NodeXL






To use Bernie Hogan’s tool on Facebook, click here. From the two options presented,
select “UCInet”. This is a format specific to another tool, not NodeXL, but we will
import this data into NodeXL because it’s easier to use.
After selecting “UCInet”, right-click on the link given to you and select to save the
generated file to a folder on your computer.

Launch Excel and open the file that you just saved to your computer.
1.

Excel will launch the Text Import Wizard. Select “Delimited”. Click “Next >”

2.

Select “Space” as the delimiter, as shown here

3.

Select “Next >” and then “Finish”.

4.

A new file will be created in Excel. It contains a list of all the nodes in your ego-network, followed
by a list of all edges. Scroll down until you find the edges, select all of them and copy them (Ctrl-C)

5.

You can now open a new NodeXL file in Excel as explained in the previous slide. Instead of using
NodeXL’s import function, paste the list of edges to the NodeXL worksheet, right here

6.

In NodeXL select

7.

Now you can compute graph metrics and visualize your data like explained in the previous slide!

41

and “Get Vertices from Edge List”

CNM Social Media Module – Giorgos Cheliotis (gcheliotis@nus.edu.sg)
More options


Many more tools are used for SNA, although they generally require more
expert knowledge. Some of these are:










Pajek (Windows, free)
UCInet (Windows, shareware)
Netdraw (Windows, free)
Mage (Windows, free)
GUESS (all platforms, free and open source)
R packages for SNA (all platforms, free and open source)
Gephi (all platforms, free and open source)

The field is continuously growing, so we can expect to see more userfriendly applications coming out in the next years…

42

CNM Social Media Module – Giorgos Cheliotis (gcheliotis@nus.edu.sg)
Credits and licensing


Front page network graph by ilamont (license: CC BY)



Bridge routing illustrations in Newman et al, The Structure and Dynamics of Networks, Princeton University
Press



Personal social network diagram in Mark Wellman (ed.), Networks in the Global Village, Westview Press



Visualization of interactions in organization in Garton et al, Studying Online Social Networks, JCMC



Visualization of US political bloggers in Lada Adamic and Natalie Glance, The Political Blogosphere and the
2004 US election: Divided They Blog, Proceedings of the International Conference on Knowledge Discovery
and Data Mining, ACM Press, 2005



Web bow tie diagram by Broder et al, Graph Structure in the Web, Computer Networks, Elsevier



Bond/tie photo by ChrisK4u (license: CC BY-ND)



Visualization of small world network by AJC1 (license: CC BY-NC)

Original content in this presentation is licensed under the Creative Commons
Original content in this presentation is licensed under the Creative Commons
Singapore Attribution 3.0 license unless stated otherwise (see above)
Singapore Attribution 3.0 license unless stated otherwise (see above)

43

CNM Social Media Module – Giorgos Cheliotis (gcheliotis@nus.edu.sg)

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Social Network Analysis

  • 1. Social Network Analysis (SNA) including a tutorial on concepts and methods Social Media – Dr. Giorgos Cheliotis (gcheliotis@nus.edu.sg) Communications and New Media, National University of Singapore
  • 2. Background: Network Analysis SNA has its origins in both social science and in the broader fields of network analysis and graph theory Network analysis concerns itself with the formulation and solution of problems that have a network structure; such structure is usually captured in a graph (see the circled structure to the right) Graph theory provides a set of abstract concepts and methods for the analysis of graphs. These, in combination with other analytical tools and with methods developed specifically for the visualization and analysis of social (and other) networks, form the basis of what we call SNA methods. Newman et al, 2006 Newman et al, 2006 But SNA is not just a methodology; it is a unique perspective on how society functions. Instead of focusing on individuals and their attributes, or on macroscopic social structures, it centers on relations between individuals, groups, or social institutions 2 A very early example of network analysis comes from the city of Königsberg (now Kaliningrad). Famous mathematician Leonard Euler used a graph to prove that there is no path that crosses each of the city’s bridges only once (Newman et al, 2006). CNM Social Media Module – Giorgos Cheliotis (gcheliotis@nus.edu.sg)
  • 3. Background: Social Science Studying society from a network perspective is to study individuals as embedded in a network of relations and seek explanations for social behavior in the structure of these networks rather than in the individuals alone. This ‘network perspective’ becomes increasingly relevant in a society that Manuel Castells has dubbed the network society. SNA has a long history in social science, although much of the work in advancing its methods has also come from mathematicians, physicists, biologists and computer scientists (because they too study networks of different types) Wellman, 1998 This is an early depiction of what we call an ‘ego’ network, i.e. a personal network. The graphic depicts varying tie strengths via concentric circles (Wellman, 1998) 3 The idea that networks of relations are important in social science is not new, but widespread availability of data and advances in computing and methodology have made it much easier now to apply SNA to a range of problems CNM Social Media Module – Giorgos Cheliotis (gcheliotis@nus.edu.sg)
  • 4. More examples from social science These visualizations depict the flow of communications in an organization before and after the introduction of a content management system (Garton et al, 1997) A visualization of US bloggers shows clearly how they tend to link predominantly to blogs supporting the same party, forming two distinct clusters (Adamic and Glance, 2005) 4 CNM Social Media Module – Giorgos Cheliotis (gcheliotis@nus.edu.sg)
  • 5. Background: Other Domains (Social) Network Analysis has found applications in many domains beyond social science, although the greatest advances have generally been in relation to the study of structures generated by humans Computer scientists for example have used (and even developed new) network analysis methods to study webpages, Internet traffic, information dissemination, etc. One example in life sciences is the use of network analysis to study food chains in different ecosystems Mathematicians and (theoretical) physicists usually focus on producing new and complex methods for the analysis of networks, that can be used by anyone, in any domain where networks are relevant 5 Broder et al, 2000 In this example researchers collected a very large amount of data on the links between web pages and found out that the Web consists of a core of densely inter-linked pages, while most other web pages either link to or are linked to from that core. It was one of the first such insights into very large scale human-generated structures (Broder et al, 2000). CNM Social Media Module – Giorgos Cheliotis (gcheliotis@nus.edu.sg)
  • 6. Practical applications Businesses use SNA to analyze and improve communication flow in their organization, or with their networks of partners and customers Law enforcement agencies (and the army) use SNA to identify criminal and terrorist networks from traces of communication that they collect; and then identify key players in these networks Social Network Sites like Facebook use basic elements of SNA to identify and recommend potential friends based on friends-of-friends Civil society organizations use SNA to uncover conflicts of interest in hidden connections between government bodies, lobbies and businesses Network operators (telephony, cable, mobile) use SNA-like methods to optimize the structure and capacity of their networks 6 CNM Social Media Module – Giorgos Cheliotis (gcheliotis@nus.edu.sg)
  • 7. Why and when to use SNA     Whenever you are studying a social network, either offline or online, or when you wish to understand how to improve the effectiveness of the network When you want to visualize your data so as to uncover patterns in relationships or interactions When you want to follow the paths that information (or basically anything) follows in social networks When you do quantitative research, although for qualitative research a network perspective is also valuable (a) (b)  The range of actions and opportunities afforded to individuals are often a function of their positions in social networks; uncovering these positions (instead of relying on common assumptions based on their roles and functions, say as fathers, mothers, teachers, workers) can yield more interesting and sometimes surprising results A quantitative analysis of a social network can help you identify different types of actors in the network or key players, whom you can focus on for your qualitative research SNA is clearly also useful in analyzing SNS’s, OC’s and social media in general, to test hypotheses on online behavior and CMC, to identify the causes for dysfunctional communities or networks, and to promote social cohesion and growth in an online community 7 CNM Social Media Module – Giorgos Cheliotis (gcheliotis@nus.edu.sg)
  • 8. Basic Concepts     8 Networks Tie Strength Key Players Cohesion How to represent various social networks How to identify strong/weak ties in the network How to identify key/central nodes in network Measures of overall network structure CNM Social Media Module – Giorgos Cheliotis (gcheliotis@nus.edu.sg)
  • 9. Representing relations as networks Anne Anne 1 Jim Jim Mary Mary 2 John John 3 Can we study their interactions as a network? 4 Communication 1 Graph 2 Anne: Jim, tell the Murrays they’re invited Jim: Mary, you and your dad should come for dinner! Jim: Mr. Murray, you should both come for dinner 3 Anne: Mary, did Jim tell you about the dinner? You must come. John: Mary, are you hungry? … 9 Vertex (node) CNM Social Media Module – Giorgos Cheliotis (gcheliotis@nus.edu.sg) 4 Edge (link)
  • 10. Entering data on a directed graph Edge list Graph (directed) 1 2 3 10 Adjacency matrix 4 CNM Social Media Module – Giorgos Cheliotis (gcheliotis@nus.edu.sg)
  • 11. Representing an undirected graph Directed (who contacts whom) 1 Edge list remains the same But interpretation is different now 2 3 1 4 Adjacency matrix becomes symmetric 2 3 4 Undirected (who knows whom) 11 CNM Social Media Module – Giorgos Cheliotis (gcheliotis@nus.edu.sg)
  • 12. Ego networks and ‘whole’ networks 1 ‘whole’ network* 2 ego 1 2 3 go ’s e 3 3 wo net rk 5 4 6 alter 7 3 ’s eg wit o net hou wo t eg rk o** 5 4 1 2 isolate 4 5 * no studied network is ‘whole’ in practice; it’s usually a partial picture of one’s real life networks (boundary specification problem) ** ego not needed for analysis as all alters are by definition connected to ego 12 CNM Social Media Module – Giorgos Cheliotis (gcheliotis@nus.edu.sg)
  • 13. Basic Concepts  13 Networks Tie Strength Key Players Cohesion How to represent various social networks How to identify strong/weak ties in the network How to identify key/central nodes in network Measures of overall network structure CNM Social Media Module – Giorgos Cheliotis (gcheliotis@nus.edu.sg)
  • 14. Adding weights to edges Edge list: add column of weights 30 1 (directed or undirected) 2 22 5 3 37 2 4 Weights could be: •Frequency of interaction in period of observation •Number of items exchanged in period •Individual perceptions of strength of relationship •Costs in communication or exchange, e.g. distance •Combinations of these 14 Adjacency matrix: add weights instead of 1 CNM Social Media Module – Giorgos Cheliotis (gcheliotis@nus.edu.sg)
  • 15. Edge weights as relationship strength   Edges can represent interactions, flows of information or goods, similarities/affiliations, or social relations Specifically for social relations, a ‘proxy’ for the strength of a tie can be:       the frequency of interaction (communication) or the amount of flow (exchange) reciprocity in interaction or flow the type of interaction or flow between the two parties (e.g., intimate or not) other attributes of the nodes or ties (e.g., kin relationships) The structure of the nodes’ neighborhood (e.g. many mutual ‘friends’) Surveys and interviews allows us to establish the existence of mutual or onesided strength/affection with greater certainty, but proxies above are also useful 15 CNM Social Media Module – Giorgos Cheliotis (gcheliotis@nus.edu.sg)
  • 16. Homophily, transitivity, and bridging  Homophily is the tendency to relate to people with similar characteristics (status, beliefs, etc.)     Transitivity in SNA is a property of ties: if there is a tie between A and B and one between B and C, then in a transitive network A and C will also be connected    It leads to the formation of homogeneous groups (clusters) where forming relations is easier Extreme homogenization can act counter to innovation and idea generation (heterophily is thus desirable in some contexts) Homophilous ties can be strong or weak Strong ties are more often transitive than weak ties; transitivity is therefore evidence for the existence of strong ties (but not a necessary or sufficient condition) Transitivity and homophily together lead to the formation of cliques (fully connected clusters) Bridges are nodes and edges that connect across groups   16 Homophily Strong Heterophily Weak TIES Transitivity Bridging CLUSTERING Interlinked groups Cliques Facilitate inter-group communication, increase social cohesion, and help spur innovation They are usually weak ties, but not every weak tie is a bridge CNM Social Media Module – Giorgos Cheliotis (gcheliotis@nus.edu.sg) Social network
  • 17. Basic Concepts  17 Networks Tie Strength Key Players Cohesion How to represent various social networks How to identify strong/weak ties in the network How to identify key/central nodes in network Measures of overall network structure CNM Social Media Module – Giorgos Cheliotis (gcheliotis@nus.edu.sg)
  • 18. Note on computational examples   Results may vary across different software packages (e.g. when you use NodeXL or UCINET), mainly because SNA metrics can take various roughly equivalent forms  Consult the documentation of the software you are using when in doubt  18 In the examples that follow values were calculated with the sna and igraph packages for the R programming environment, which is widely used by specialists in the field (but is not the most userfriendly) In most cases, even if there are some differences in the output of your preferred software when compared to these notes, results will be qualitatively the same and thus interpretation will also be the same – but you have been warned! CNM Social Media Module – Giorgos Cheliotis (gcheliotis@nus.edu.sg)
  • 19. Degree centrality  A node’s (in-) or (out-)degree is the number of links that lead into or out of the node  Often used as measure of a node’s degree of connectedness and hence also influence and/or popularity  Useful in assessing which nodes are central with respect to spreading information and influencing others in their immediate ‘neighborhood’ 1 2 3 In an undirected graph they are of course identical  Hypothetical graph 2 4 1 3 5 4 1 6 4 7 1 Nodes 3 and 5 have the highest degree (4) Values computed with the sna package in the R programming environment. Definitions of centrality measures may vary slightly in other software. 19 CNM Social Media Module – Giorgos Cheliotis (gcheliotis@nus.edu.sg)
  • 20. Paths and shortest paths      A path between two nodes is any sequence of non-repeating nodes that connects the two nodes The shortest path between two nodes is the path that connects the two nodes with the shortest number of edges (also called the distance between the nodes) In the example to the right, between nodes 1 and 4 there are two shortest paths of length 2: {1,2,4} and {1,3,4} Other, longer paths between the two nodes are {1,2,3,4}, {1,3,2,4}, {1,2,5,3,4} and {1,3,5,2,4} (the longest paths) Shorter paths are desirable when speed of communication or exchange is desired (often the case in many studies, but Hypothetical graph 1 2 3 sometimes not, e.g. in networks that spread disease) 20 Shortest path(s) CNM Social Media Module – Giorgos Cheliotis (gcheliotis@nus.edu.sg) 5 4
  • 21. Betweenness centrality      For a given node v, calculate the number of shortest paths between nodes i and j that pass through v, and divide by all shortest paths between nodes i and j Sum the above values for all node pairs i,j Sometimes normalized such that the highest value is 1or that the sum of all betweenness centralities in the network is 1 Shows which nodes are more likely to be in communication paths between other nodes Also useful in determining points where the network would break apart (think who would be cut off if nodes 3 or 5 would disappear) 0 1 6.5 0 2 1.5 3 5 4 0 6 9 7 0 Node 5 has higher betweenness centrality than 3 Values computed with the sna package in the R programming environment. Definitions of centrality measures may vary slightly in other software. 21 CNM Social Media Module – Giorgos Cheliotis (gcheliotis@nus.edu.sg)
  • 22. Closeness centrality    Calculate the mean length of all shortest paths from a node to all other nodes in the network (i.e. how many hops on average it takes to reach every other node) Take the reciprocal of the above value so that higher values are ‘better’ (indicate higher closeness) like in other measures of centrality It is a measure of reach, i.e. the speed with which information can reach other nodes from a given starting node Nodes 3 and 5 have the highest (i.e. best) closeness, while node 2 fares almost as well 0.5 1 0.75 0.46 2 3 5 4 0.46 0.67 6 0.75 7 0.46 Note: Sometimes closeness is calculated without taking the reciprocal of the mean shortest path length. Then lower values are ‘better’. Values computed with the sna package in the R programming environment. Definitions of centrality measures may vary slightly in other software. 22 CNM Social Media Module – Giorgos Cheliotis (gcheliotis@nus.edu.sg)
  • 23. Eigenvector centrality     A node’s eigenvector centrality is proportional to the sum of the eigenvector centralities of all nodes directly connected to it In other words, a node with a high eigenvector centrality is connected to other nodes with high eigenvector centrality This is similar to how Google ranks web pages: links from highly linked-to pages count more Useful in determining who is connected to the most connected nodes Node 3 has the highest eigenvector centrality, closely followed by 2 and 5 0.36 1 0.54 0.19 2 3 5 4 0.17 0.49 6 0.49 7 0.17 Note: The term ‘eigenvector’ comes from mathematics (matrix algebra), but it is not necessary for understanding how to interpret this measure Values computed with the sna package in the R programming environment. Definitions of centrality measures may vary slightly in other software. 23 CNM Social Media Module – Giorgos Cheliotis (gcheliotis@nus.edu.sg)
  • 24. Interpretation of measures (1) Centrality measure Interpretation in social networks  Degree How many people can this person reach directly?  Betweenness How likely is this person to be the most direct route between two people in the network?  Closeness How fast can this person reach everyone in the network? Eigenvector How well is this person connected to other wellconnected people?  24 CNM Social Media Module – Giorgos Cheliotis (gcheliotis@nus.edu.sg)
  • 25. Interpretation of measures (2) Centrality measure Other possible interpretations…  Degree In network of music collaborations: how many people has this person collaborated with?  Betweenness In network of spies: who is the spy though whom most of the confidential information is likely to flow?  Closeness In network of sexual relations: how fast will an STD spread from this person to the rest of the network? Eigenvector In network of paper citations: who is the author that is most cited by other well-cited authors?  25 CNM Social Media Module – Giorgos Cheliotis (gcheliotis@nus.edu.sg)
  • 26. Identifying sets of key players      In the network to the right, node 10 is the most central according to degree centrality But nodes 3 and 5 together will reach more nodes Moreover the tie between them is critical; if severed, the network will break into two isolated sub-networks It follows that other things being equal, players 3 and 5 together are more ‘key’ to this network than 10 1 0 2 10 3 5 8 4 Thinking about sets of key players is helpful! 26 9 CNM Social Media Module – Giorgos Cheliotis (gcheliotis@nus.edu.sg) 6 7
  • 27. Basic Concepts  27 Networks Tie Strength Key Players Cohesion How to represent various social networks How to identify strong/weak ties in the network How to identify key/central nodes in network How to characterize a network’s structure CNM Social Media Module – Giorgos Cheliotis (gcheliotis@nus.edu.sg)
  • 28. Reciprocity (degree of)  The ratio of the number of relations which are reciprocated (i.e. there is an edge in both directions) over the total number of relations in the network  In the example to the right this would be 2/5=0.4 (whether this is considered high or low depends on the context) 2 …where two vertices are said to be related if there is at least one edge between them  1  A useful indicator of the degree of mutuality and reciprocal exchange in a network, which relate to social cohesion  3 Only makes sense in directed graphs 28 4 Reciprocity for network = 0.4 CNM Social Media Module – Giorgos Cheliotis (gcheliotis@nus.edu.sg)
  • 29. Density      Edge present in network Possible but not present A network’s density is the ratio of the number of edges in the network over the total number of possible edges between all pairs of nodes (which is n(n-1)/2, where n is the number of vertices, for an undirected graph) 1 In the example network to the right density=5/6=0.83 (i.e. it is a fairly dense network; opposite would be a sparse network) It is a common measure of how well connected a network is (in other words, how closely knit it is) – a perfectly connected network is called a clique and has density=1 A directed graph will have half the density of its undirected equivalent, because there are twice as many possible edges, i.e. n(n-1) Density is useful in comparing networks against each other, or in doing the same for different regions within a single network 29 2 3 4 density = 5/6 = 0.83 1 2 3 density = 5/12 = 0.42 CNM Social Media Module – Giorgos Cheliotis (gcheliotis@nus.edu.sg) 4
  • 30. Clustering    Cluster A A node’s clustering coefficient is the number of closed triplets in the node’s neighborhood over the total number of triplets in the neighborhood. It is also known as transitivity. E.g., node 1 to the right has a value of 1 because it is only connected to 2 and 3, and these nodes are also connected to one another (i.e. the only triplet in the neighborhood of 1 is closed). We say that nodes 1,2, and 3 form a clique. Clustering algorithms identify clusters or ‘communities’ within networks based on N/a network structure and specific clustering criteria (example shown to the right with two clusters is based on edge betweenness, an equivalent for edges of the betweenness centrality presented earlier for nodes) Cluster B 1 1 0.33 2 3 5 4 N/a 0.67 6 0.17 7 N/a Network clustering coefficient = 0.375 (3 nodes in each triangle x 2 triangles = 6 closed triplets divided by 16 total) Values computed with the igraph package in the R programming environment. Definitions of centrality measures may vary slightly in other software. 30 CNM Social Media Module – Giorgos Cheliotis (gcheliotis@nus.edu.sg)
  • 31. Average and longest distance     The longest shortest path (distance) between any two nodes in a network is called the network’s diameter The diameter of the network on the right is 3; it is a useful measure of the reach of the network (as opposed to looking only at the total number of vertices or edges) It also indicates how long it will take at most to reach any node in the network (sparser networks will generally have greater diameters) The average of all shortest paths in a network is also interesting because it indicates how far apart any two nodes will be on average (average distance) 31 1 2 diameter 3 5 4 6 CNM Social Media Module – Giorgos Cheliotis (gcheliotis@nus.edu.sg) 7
  • 32. Small Worlds local cluster    A small world is a network that looks almost random but exhibits a significantly high clustering coefficient (nodes tend to cluster locally) and a relatively short average path length (nodes can be reached in a few steps) bridge It is a very common structure in social networks because of transitivity in strong social ties and the ability of weak ties to reach across clusters (see also next page…) Such a network will have many clusters but also many bridges between clusters that help shorten the average distance between nodes 32 Sketch of small world structure You may have heard of the famous “6 degrees” of separation CNM Social Media Module – Giorgos Cheliotis (gcheliotis@nus.edu.sg)
  • 33. Preferential Attachment A property of some networks, where, during their evolution and growth in time, a the great majority of new edges are to nodes with an already high degree; the degree of these nodes thus increases disproportionately, compared to most other nodes in the network The result is a network with few very highly connected nodes and many nodes with a low degree  Such networks are said to exhibit a long-tailed degree distribution  short head degree  long tail And they tend to have a smallworld structure! (so, as it turns out, transitivity and strong/weak tie characteristics are not necessary to explain small world structures, but they are common and can also lead to such structures) 33 nodes ordered in descending degree Example of network with preferential attachment CNM Social Media Module – Giorgos Cheliotis (gcheliotis@nus.edu.sg) Sketch of long-tailed degree distribution
  • 34. Reasons for preferential attachment Popularity We want to be associated with popular people, ideas, items, thus further increasing their popularity, irrespective of any objective, measurable characteristics Also known as ‘the rich get richer’ 34 Quality We evaluate people and everything else based on objective quality criteria, so higher quality nodes will naturally attract more attention, faster Also known as ‘the good get better’ Mixed model Among nodes of similar attributes, those that reach critical mass first will become ‘stars’ with many friends and followers (‘halo effect’) May be impossible to predict who will become a star, even if quality matters CNM Social Media Module – Giorgos Cheliotis (gcheliotis@nus.edu.sg)
  • 35. Core-Periphery Structures  A useful and relatively simple metric of the degree to which a social network is centralized or decentralized, is the centralization measure (usually normalized such that it takes values between 0 and 1)    It is based on calculating the differences in degrees between nodes; a network that greatly depends on 1-2 highly connected nodes (as a result for example of preferential attachment) will exhibit greater differences in degree centrality between nodes Centralized structures can perform better at some tasks (like team-based problem-solving requiring coordination), but are more prone to failure if key players disconnect Nodes in core In addition to centralization, many large groups and online communities have a core of densely connected users that are critical for connecting a much larger periphery   35 Cores can be identified visually, or by examining the location of high-degree nodes and their joint degree distributions (do high-degree nodes tend to connect to other high-degree nodes?) Bow-tie analysis, famously used to analyze the structure of the Web, can also be used to distinguish between the core and other, more peripheral elements in a network (see earlier example here) More peripheral clusters and other structures CNM Social Media Module – Giorgos Cheliotis (gcheliotis@nus.edu.sg)
  • 36. Thoughts on Design How can an online social media platform (and its administrators) leverage the methods and insights of social network analysis? How can it encourage a network perspective among its users, such that they are aware of their ‘neighborhood’ and can learn how to work with it and/or expand it? What measures can an online community take to optimize its network structure? Example: cliques can be undesirable because they shun newcomers What would be desirable structures for different types of online platforms? (not easy to answer) How can online communities identify and utilize key players for the benefit of the community? 36 SNA inspired some of the first SNS’s (e.g. SixDegrees), but still not used so often in conjunction with design decisions – much untapped potential here CNM Social Media Module – Giorgos Cheliotis (gcheliotis@nus.edu.sg)
  • 37. Analyzing your own ego-network • Use the steps outlined in the following pages to visualize and analyze your own network • Think about the key players in your network, the types of ties that you maintain with them, identify any clusters or communities within your network, etc. • Objective: practice SNA with real data! • Present your findings in class next week! 37 CNM Social Media Module – Giorgos Cheliotis (gcheliotis@nus.edu.sg)
  • 38. Visualizing Facebook ego-network online  Launch the TouchGraph Facebook Browser  You should see a visualization of your network like the one to the right  Make sure to set to a value that will allow you to see your entire network (friends ranked according to highest betweeness centrality according to TouchGraph Help)  Go to “Advanced” and remove all filters on the data so that settings look like below: Example TouchGraph Facebook Layout  Note: not possible to export your data for further analysis  Navigate the graph, examine friend ‘ranks’, friend positions in the network, clusters and what they have in common, try to identify weak and strong ties of yours and assess overall structure of your ego-network You may also want to try TouchGraph Google Browser (it’s fun!) 38 CNM Social Media Module – Giorgos Cheliotis (gcheliotis@nus.edu.sg)
  • 39. Exporting data for offline analysis  Data is more useful when you can extract it from an online platform and analyze with a variety of more powerful tools  Facebook, Twitter and other platforms have public Application Programming Interfaces (API’s) which allow computer programs to extract data among other things  Web crawlers can also be used to read and extract the data directly from the web pages which contain them  Doing either of the above on your own will usually require some programming skills  Thankfully, if you have no such experience, you can use free tools built by others :)  Bernie Hogan (Oxford Internet Institute) has developed a Facebook application that extracts a list of all edges in your ego-network (see instructions on next page)  Also, NodeXL (Windows only, see later slide) currently imports data from: Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, and your email client!  Let’s start with installing and learning to use NodeXL… 39 CNM Social Media Module – Giorgos Cheliotis (gcheliotis@nus.edu.sg)
  • 40. Using NodeXL for visualization & analysis  Download and install NodeXL Windows 7/Vista/XP, requires Excel 2007 (installation may take a while if additional software is needed for NodeXL to work)  Launch Excel and select New -> My Templates ->NodeXLGraph.xltx  Go to “Import” and select the appropriate option for the data you wish to import (for Facebook import see next slide first!)  Click on to ask NodeXL to compute centralities, network density, clustering coefficients, etc.  Select to display network graph. You can customize this using and as well as NodeXL sample screenshot 40 NM4881A Tweep Network (weekly data) For more info read this NodeXL tutorial CNM Social Media Module – Giorgos Cheliotis (gcheliotis@nus.edu.sg)
  • 41. Exporting Facebook ego-network data This will explain how to export your Facebook data for analysis with a tool like NodeXL    To use Bernie Hogan’s tool on Facebook, click here. From the two options presented, select “UCInet”. This is a format specific to another tool, not NodeXL, but we will import this data into NodeXL because it’s easier to use. After selecting “UCInet”, right-click on the link given to you and select to save the generated file to a folder on your computer. Launch Excel and open the file that you just saved to your computer. 1. Excel will launch the Text Import Wizard. Select “Delimited”. Click “Next >” 2. Select “Space” as the delimiter, as shown here 3. Select “Next >” and then “Finish”. 4. A new file will be created in Excel. It contains a list of all the nodes in your ego-network, followed by a list of all edges. Scroll down until you find the edges, select all of them and copy them (Ctrl-C) 5. You can now open a new NodeXL file in Excel as explained in the previous slide. Instead of using NodeXL’s import function, paste the list of edges to the NodeXL worksheet, right here 6. In NodeXL select 7. Now you can compute graph metrics and visualize your data like explained in the previous slide! 41 and “Get Vertices from Edge List” CNM Social Media Module – Giorgos Cheliotis (gcheliotis@nus.edu.sg)
  • 42. More options  Many more tools are used for SNA, although they generally require more expert knowledge. Some of these are:         Pajek (Windows, free) UCInet (Windows, shareware) Netdraw (Windows, free) Mage (Windows, free) GUESS (all platforms, free and open source) R packages for SNA (all platforms, free and open source) Gephi (all platforms, free and open source) The field is continuously growing, so we can expect to see more userfriendly applications coming out in the next years… 42 CNM Social Media Module – Giorgos Cheliotis (gcheliotis@nus.edu.sg)
  • 43. Credits and licensing  Front page network graph by ilamont (license: CC BY)  Bridge routing illustrations in Newman et al, The Structure and Dynamics of Networks, Princeton University Press  Personal social network diagram in Mark Wellman (ed.), Networks in the Global Village, Westview Press  Visualization of interactions in organization in Garton et al, Studying Online Social Networks, JCMC  Visualization of US political bloggers in Lada Adamic and Natalie Glance, The Political Blogosphere and the 2004 US election: Divided They Blog, Proceedings of the International Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining, ACM Press, 2005  Web bow tie diagram by Broder et al, Graph Structure in the Web, Computer Networks, Elsevier  Bond/tie photo by ChrisK4u (license: CC BY-ND)  Visualization of small world network by AJC1 (license: CC BY-NC) Original content in this presentation is licensed under the Creative Commons Original content in this presentation is licensed under the Creative Commons Singapore Attribution 3.0 license unless stated otherwise (see above) Singapore Attribution 3.0 license unless stated otherwise (see above) 43 CNM Social Media Module – Giorgos Cheliotis (gcheliotis@nus.edu.sg)