Sunday, September 30, 2012

Application of Social Network Analysis to the sports industry

This interesting study talks about the application of social network analysis to the sports industry. It is amazing to find out that social network analysis can be applied to explain why athletes accept the risk of pain and suffering in sports.
Read More>>

Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Friendship Paradox

The Friendship Paradox as examined through social network analysis, particularly ego networks. Conclusion not surprising: our friends are on average more popular than us!

Interesting how they use this analysis to examine epidemics, particularly the experiment at Harvard of students infected with H1N1.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Twitter App Tracks Illness Outbreaks

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently announced that it would make Web-based application, "MappyHealth" to track and analyze health related comments on Twitter.  The app will help local public health agencies identify emerging health issues and public health emergencies earlier than traditional surveillance methods do. 

Actually, studies of the 2009 H1N1 flu pandemic and the Haiti cholera outbreak show that social media could detect disease outbreaks about 2 weeks earlier than conventional surveillance methods.

If the public health agencies not only in the U.S but also in other countries can utilize MappyHealth, it will contribute a lot to improve global public health!

Where do you consume news?

The study has found 33 percent of those young adults got news from social networks the day before, while 34 percent watched TV news and just 13 percent read print or digital newspaper content.

It's notable that Twitter functions more as an 'interest network' rather than a 'social network.'  That is, people's news consumption is highly dependent on who they are connected.

So I am wondering if we could gauge the level of shared interest within a certain network by SNA?

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Geography and Social Network Analysis

In poking around to try and find a convincing argument to compel you all to check out the Association of American Geographers Annual Meeting I found some really interesting examples of how researchers  have begun to marry the methods of spatial and social network analysis.

The graphic above is from a study entitled "Spatializing Social Networks: Using Social Network Analysis to Investigate Geographies of Gang Rivalry, Territoriality, and Violence in Los Angeles" (If anyone wants the full paper I have member access to it and will try to upload it to Prof. Tunnard's Google Drive) It is basically a social network given spatiality, and visualizing the data on a map adds another dimension to the possibilities for analysis. 

Ironically the AAG Annual Meeting is in L.A. this year! You should all consider this great opportunity to share your work for this or any other course with an enthusiastic and appreciative community of academics and practitioners of geography and related disciplines (if you haven't figured this out yet just put a spatial spin on any field and your in). 

This year's themes include: 
  • Emerging Asias
  • Beyond the Los Angeles School: Global Urbanization
  • Climate Change, Variability, Adaptation and Justice
  • Geography, GIScience, and Health: Spatial Frontiers of Health Research and Practice
  • Activist Geographies: Struggles for Social and Environmental Justice
  • Borders
Abstracts are due by October 24th.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Great Posts--and Suggestions


There are already some really interesting posts up here.  From SNs of animals, to political resistance, to job advertisements for big-bucks positions.  I will try to comment on all of them but may not have time this week.  Keep 'em coming, please.


  • Be sure to put a title on your post
  • Make your title clickable to the main link you want people to see.  Don't just paste the URL in the text
  • Put labels in to help Search work faster (on right when you create/edit a  post)

Collective Action Theory and Nonviolent Social Movements

One of my main drivers for taking this course is to learn how to effectively analyze social networks in nonviolent movements. I am particularly interested in how leadership and authority emerge from these networks. Who are the catalyzers? What are the issues? How are people organizing themselves in transnational social movements and mobilizing other communities both online and on the ground? And even more importantly, how are we re-defining community with the advent of social media?

Collective Action Theory Meets the Blogosphere” addresses cyber-collective action and social networks. One particular online campaign it analyzes is the Al-Huwaider Campaign. A Saudi female writer and journalist Waheja Al-Huwaider posted a YouTube video that quickly went viral, of her driving around the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia by herself, which is forbidden. Her actions, combined with her online writings, have been inspirational for other collective action movements promoting women’s rights in the Middle East. The paper does an issue analysis of Al-Huwaider’s writings on other blogs, and how they were transmitted across national borders to influence the issue discussion.

While the paper falls short of providing more concrete examples of what types of collective action Al-Huwaider’s writings and online campaign actually influenced on the ground, it offers an important perspective in mapping the interactions and influence of issue-based discussions and the rapidly emerging field of how people are exercising leadership and authority in the blogosphere.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Animal Social Network Analysis

These electronic tags are an amazing discovery:

While social network analysis has been extensively developed and used for studying human societies and behavior, animals are also social creatures. One of the problematic aspects of studying an animal’s social network, prior to the unveiling of this technology, was that animals tend not to share with you where they have been and with whom they have interacted. This information is vital to the study of a social network. Encounternet makes the continuous study of a population possible.
redOrbit (

I wonder if you can still use these tags as surveillance devices on people you're trying to spy on...

Yay for new technologies that spread the benefits of social network analysis to the animal world!

SNA Positions in the Real World

Thought some of you might find it interesting to see the type of work one could possibly do using the knowledge and skills learned in this class as well as how much that would pay. 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

SNA and Intelligence Analysts

This article talks about the CORE lab at the Naval Postgraduate School and some of the applications undergoing development and even mentions some successful past application of SNA.  The most interesting to me is the Dynamic Twitter Network Analysis (DTNA) which could potentially help US policy makers decide which groups to aid, if the US desired to take action in Syria.  The potential is limitless for SNA.

Mike Jones

Using SNA to shed light on the organizational structure of political movements

With under two months left until Election Day, “Partisan Webs: Information Exchange and Party Networks” – an article by Gregory Koger, Seth Masket, and Hans Noel – is highly relevant to current discourse regarding the direction of democracy in the US.

Much has been made of the landmark 2010 Citizens United decision, which eliminated campaign finance limits for individuals, corporations and interest groups, heralding the rise of “Super PACs.” To date, the Center for Responsive Politics estimates that Super PACs have contributed over $250 million to the current campaign cycle. Similarly, many have become concerned that significant corporate influence in the media sector has contributed to an increase in partisan reporting, minimizing average citizens’ access to objective analysis of events. Despite discussion of these developments in the abstract, political parties, media organizations, and interest groups continue to publicly insist on organizational independence.  Yet it is clear they at least influence one another, if more formalized cooperation does not exist behind closed doors.

Koger et al.’s research uses social network analysis to elucidate the extent of formalized, behind the scenes cooperation between media organizations, interest groups, and formal political parties during the 2004-2005 election cycle. They accomplished this by relying on the metric of shared mailing lists to signify organizational cooperation between two publicly unassociated entities. Acting as a political donor, the authors mapped the social network of the Republican and Democratic Parties by measuring the paper trail of responses that their initial set of contributions generated. Their findings confirmed that US politics are shaped by “extended party networks” that consist of the aforementioned actors cooperating in both formal and informal contexts.  They also found that, at least during the period studied, the Democratic network was much larger and integrated than that of the Republicans.

While there are clear methodological challenges to this type of analysis, it nonetheless holds significant potential beyond the US context. What if we could employ similar techniques to better understand the popular bases and or donor networks of political parties in emerging democracies? Even though the article is several years old, I think it’s well worth posting.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Social networks to reduce package delivery emissions

Goods purchased online are typically delivered individually to customers’ homes. Carried mostly by fuel-inefficient delivery trucks, “last mile” local delivery systems represent the single largest contributor of greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) by online purchases. 

Progress has been made reducing the impact in urban area by employing centralized pick-up locations where customers can claim their packages –  kiosks, grocery stores, public transport locations, etc.. But suburban areas have proven more vexing. Centralized pick-ups make actually increase emissions, as customers are more likely to drive and to make separate trips for each package.

Researchers from the University of Minnesota and
Seoul National University think social networks might be part of the solution. If consumers can enlist their social networks to claim packages when they are closer to the pick-up locations, their actions can reduce the total number of miles driven and emissions released. And because people tend to see others in their local network regularly, the package can be returned to the customer without requiring a separate trip solely for the delivery. Look here for more information. 

Suu Kyi and twitter

Upon Aung San Suu Kyi's visit to the US,
the foreign policy magazine reilluminated social network's impacts on social change.
Given the diminishing political and economic leverage of Western governments for human rights, media does not focus as much as it should on these issues.  Instead, dynamic grassroots inspired, motivated by their online neighbors through social media are standing for human rights.  It's true that some criticize the effects of social media calling 'clicktivism' or 'slacktivism,' however, we are witnessing its power in many cases regardless of the ultimate success in achieving goals(Chinese blind lawyer vs. Russia's Pussy Riot)
It might require more time to judge social media's definitive effects on social changes though, it seems pretty clear social media is playing a role as a stepping stone to make people become more engaged, readily interested in social changes.

Will President 'Putin'(not Medvedev as seemingly mistakenly written in the article) ever listen to those critiques?  Is this a matter of national(or one leader's) characteristics or anything else?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Networking a Murder...of Crows

A short article, but a good read nonetheless that describes the application of SNA to fields we wouldn't initially consider applying SNA to.  Through SNA application, not only are we able to better understand organizations and human interaction, but with the development of technology and its utilization, we can also better understand animal interaction and consequently our world.  Most animals are embedded into some social network, even if only loosely, for survival.  The implications of better understanding animal social networks can have huge ramifications on not only gaining an understanding of our world, but also in gaining new knowledge of interactions, which based on the knowledge, could be applied to managing organizations.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

SNA of Russian Protest in Twitter

The slides get more interesting I promise...

The conclusions are always the most interesting imo. No spoiler alerts.

Except 1:

Twitter is not a place for discussion.

But how did he reach that conclusion?

Are we going to be doing SNA on sites like Twitter and Facebook I wonder... If so, I'm stoked!

Monday, September 17, 2012

«Al Qaeda hasn’t achieved what an insane video has »

At the risk of sounding pseudo-intellectual, I shall start my first blog post quoting Socrates: “all I know is that I know nothing”. And for sure, I for the moment know nothing about social networks analysis. I’m not good at maths and have humble quantitative skills. However, the crucial role communication, networks and connectedness have come to play in past years’ geopolitical developments in the Arab Region made me reconsider my natural preferences towards the all-qualitative.

As classes begin, the Arab Region is again under the media’s spotlight. This time, an insulting film has triggered massive popular reactions in the region, resulting in the death of – but not only – US ambassador to Libya. Many of those protests, it seems, have been organized through Facebook groups, reaching as far as Paris where 150 people where arrested after an unauthorized demonstration in front of the US Embassy had taken place on Saturday. Former French Prime Minister François Fillon was wondering in Le Monde this morning how such a demonstration could have happened without any official authorization. The response lies, again, in social media: calls for mobilization have been spread through instant messaging, Facebook and Twitter, under the Htag “Touche pas à mon prophète”. Connectedness, reactivity: in a few hours, decisions concerning time, date and place where made, as well as the initiative of going without the prefecture’s authorization. Yes, François, that’s how things are done now. But a crucial question remains: who will be sued for this collective (more than 4000 people had signed up in the Facebook group) action?

The horizontal, polycephalic nature of these movements/demonstrations makes it difficult to determine who plays which role in their organization. In my masters thesis I would (tentatively) like to explore the role of new media in the Arab Spring: how have they facilitated the penetration of human rights discourse in the civil society? In such movements, which actors play a crucial role? Is it the “tech savvies”, whose blog posts fueled the collective action, or the indiscriminate mass of people anonymously gathered in public spaces? How do we explore that?

These are the questions that brought me to this class, and that’s how I end up actually enjoying reading about sums, derivatives, nodes, alters and other egos. 

Facebook's influence on elections

A study of millions of Facebook users on Election Day 2010 has found that online social networks can have a measurable if limited effect on voter turnout. 

Social Network Analysis for Marketing

Hello all,

Through this course, I am planning on focusing on how marketers and/or fundraisers can use social network analysis to inform marketing and outreach efforts. It seems sensible to focus on how social network analysis could particularly inform social media-related marketing. I also think it could be interesting to discuss how fundraisers could use social network analysis to plan face-to-face meetings and engagement with large donors!

At first glance, it seems many digital marketing firms are trying to, well, market the fact that they offer social network analysis as part of their service package. Interesting. This article discusses how social network analysis might inform marketing efforts in the context of some of the other applications of social network analysis that have already been discussed in class. This is very interesting--a study which suggests businesses should think of their customers differently in the context of social networks. This article made me think of a blog I read a while ago ( I wonder if the author has high network value!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Mapping Social Networks over Time and Space

As a novice in social network analysis (SNA), I feel I should be sticking to the basics for now.  I came across this realization while reading Prell (2012), who discusses (pp. 77-78) among other things the potential problems posed by data “reliability,” defined roughly as “the extent to which a measurement will yield the same results time and time again.”  Not yet knowing exactly how to analyze social data, let alone how to account for problems with reliability, I feel comfortable gravitating toward social data and social actor relations that are likely to have a high intrinsic degree of reliability...  

Monday, September 10, 2012

The Social Networks of Myths

I suppose it was inevitable the someone would make the case that the characters in Beowulf and the Iliad could be described as living in small-world, scale-free networks...