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Encyclopedia > Social network analysis

A social network is a map of the relationships between individuals, indicating the ways in which they are connected through various social familiarities ranging from casual acquaintance to close familial bonds. The term was first coined in 1954 by J. A. Barnes (in: Class and Committees in a Norwegian Island Parish, "Human Relations").

The social network analysis (also sometimes called network theory) has emerged as a key technique in modern sociology, anthropology, Social Psychology and organizational studies, as well as a popular topic of speculation and study. Research in a number of academic fields have demonstrated that social networks operate on many levels, from families up to the level of nations, and play a critical role in determining the way problems are solved, organizations are run, and the degree to which individuals succeed in achieving their goals. Sociology is the study of the social lives of humans, groups, and societies, sometimes defined as the study of social interactions. ... Anthropology (from the Greek word άνθρωπος = human) consists of the study of humankind (see genus Homo). ... Social psychology is the study of the nature and causes of human social behavior. ... Organizational Studies (also known as Industrial Organizations, Organizational Behavior and I/O) is a distinct field of academic study which takes as its subject organizations, examining them using the methods of economics, sociology, political science, anthropology, and psychology. ...

Social networking also refers to a category of Internet applications to help connect friends, business partners, or other individuals together using a variety of tools. These applications are covered under Internet social networks below, and in the external links at the end of the article.


Introduction to social networks

An example of a social network diagram

Social network theory views social relationships in terms of nodes and ties. Nodes are the individual actors within the networks, and ties are the relationships between the actors. There can be many kinds of ties between the nodes. In its most simple form, a social network is a map of all of the relevant ties between the nodes being studied. The network can also be used to determine the social capital of individual actors. These concepts are often displayed in a social network diagram, where nodes are the points and ties are the lines. An example of a social network diagram. ... An example of a social network diagram. ... Social capital refers to the collective value of all social networks and the inclinations that arise from these networks to do things for each other, according to Robert Putnam, author of Bowling Alone and the concepts leading exponent (though not its originator). ...

The shape of the social network helps determine a network's usefulness to its individuals. Smaller, tighter networks can be less useful to their members than networks with lots of loose connections (weak ties) to individuals outside the main network. More "open" networks, with many weak ties and social connections, are more likely to introduce new ideas and opportunities to their members than closed networks with many redundant ties. In other words, a group of friends who only do things with each other already share the same knowledge and opportunities. A group of individuals with connections to other social worlds is likely to have access to a wider range of information. It is better for individual success to have connections to a variety of networks rather than many connections within a single network. Similarly, individuals can exercise influence or act as brokers within their social networks by bridging two networks that are not directly linked (called filling social holes). Weak tie is a term suggested by Mark Granovetter in The strength of weak ties (The American Journal of Sociology, Vol. ...

The power of social network theory stems from its difference from traditional sociological studies, which assume that it is the attributes of individual actors -- whether they are friendly or unfriendly, smart or dumb, etc. -- that matter. Social network theory produces an alternate view, where the attributes of individuals are less important than their relationships and ties with other actors within the network. This approach has turned out to be useful for explaining many real-world phenomena, but leaves less room for individual agency, the ability for individuals to influence their success, so much of it rests within the structure of their network.

Social networks have also been used to examine how companies interact with each other, characterizing the many informal connections that link executives together, as well as associations and connections between individual employees at different companies. These networks provide ways for companies to gather information, deter competition, and even collude in setting prices or policies. In the study of economics, collusion takes place within an industry when rival companies cooperate for their mutual benefit. ...

Applications of social network theory

Applications in social science

Social network theory in the social sciences began with the urbanization studies of the "Manchester School" (centered around Max Gluckman), done mainly in Zambia during the 1960s. It was followed up with the field of sociometry, an attempt to quantify social relationships. Scholars such as Mark Granovetter expanded the use of social networks, and they are now used to help explain many different real-life phenomena in the social sciences. Power within organizations, for example, has been found to come more from the degree to which an individual within a network is at the center of many relationships than actual job title. Social networks also play a key role in hiring, in business success for firms, and in job performance. Max Gluckman, born 26 January 1911 in Johannesburg of Russian Jewish parents, died 1975, was a South African social anthropologist. ... Mark Granovetter is a sociologist who considered among other things a model how fads build. ...

Social network theory is an extremely active field within academia. The International Network for Social Network Analysis (http://www.sfu.ca/~insna/) is an academic association of social network analysts. Many social network tools for scholarly work are available online (like "UCINet" (http://www.analytictech.com/ucinet.htm)) and are relatively easy to use to present graphical images of networks.

Diffusion of innovations theory explores social networks and their role in influencing the spread of new ideas and practices. Change agents and opinion leaders often play major roles in spurring the adoption of innovations, although factors inherent to the innovations also play a role. Diffusion of innovations is the social sciences theory for how and why new ideas spread through cultures. ... A change agent is someone who engages either deliberately or whose behavior results in social, cultural or behavioral change. ...

Popular applications

The so-called rule of 150 states that the size of a genuine social network is limited to about 150 members (sometimes called the Dunbar Number (http://www.lifewithalacrity.com/2004/03/the_dunbar_numb.html)). The rule arises from cross-cultural studies in sociology and especially anthropology of the maximum size of a village (in modern parlance most reasonably understood as an ecovillage). It is theorized in evolutionary psychology that the number may be some kind of limit of average human ability to recognize members and track emotional facts about all members of a group. However, it may be due to economics and the need to track "free riders", as larger groups tend to be easier for cheats and liars to prosper in. Sociology is the study of the social lives of humans, groups, and societies, sometimes defined as the study of social interactions. ... Anthropology (from the Greek word άνθρωπος = human) consists of the study of humankind (see genus Homo). ... A village is a human settlement commonly found in rural areas. ... Ecovillages are socially, economically and ecologically sustainable villages of 50 to 150 people. ... Evolutionary psychology or (EP) proposes that human and primate cognition and behavior could be better understood by examining them in light of human and primate evolutionary history. ... As Thought Process During the process of thinking, recognition occurs when some event, process, pattern, or object recurs. ... Economics (deriving from the Greek words οίκω [oeko], house, and νέμω [nemo], distribute) is the social science that studies the allocation of scarce resources. ... In the analyses of economics and political science, free riders are actors who take more than their fair share of the benefits or do not shoulder their fair share of the costs of their use of a resource, involvement in a project, etc. ... Look up Cheat in Wiktionary, the free dictionary Cheat can mean many things, both as a verb and a noun: In relationships, to cheat is to have an affair To take advantage of a situation, in real life or otherwise. ... This article is about the telling of falsehoods. ...

Degrees of Separation and the Global Social Network

The small world phenomenon is the hypothesis that the chain of social acquaintances required to connect one arbitrary person to another arbitrary person anywhere in the world is generally short. The concept gave rise to the famous phrase six degrees of separation after a 1967 small world experiment by psychologist Stanley Milgram which found that two random US citizens were connected by an average of six acquaintances. Current internet experiments continue to explore this phenomenon, including the Ohio State Electronic Small World Project (http://smallworld.sociology.ohio-state.edu/html/homepage.html) and Columbia's Small World Project (http://smallworld.sociology.columbia.edu/). As of 2005, these experiments confirm that about five to seven degrees of separation are sufficient for connecting any two people through the internet. The small world phenomenon (also known as the small world effect) is the hypothesis that everyone in the world can be reached through a short chain of social acquaintances. ... A hypothesis (= assumption in ancient Greek) is a proposed explanation for a phenomenon. ... Six degrees of separation is the theory that anyone on the planet can be connected to any other person on the planet through a chain of acquaintances that has no more than five intermediaries. ... 1967 was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Stanley Milgram (August 15, 1933 - December 20, 1984) was a Yale University psychologist who conducted the Small world experiment (the source of the six degrees of separation concept) and the Milgram experiment on obedience to authority. ... Wikiquote quotations related to: United States Wikinews has news related to this article: United States United States government Official website of the United States government - Gateway to governmental sites White House - Official site of the US President Senate. ... 2005 is a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ...

Internet social networks

Websites promoting the Circle of Friends online social networks started appearing in 2002 when the term was used to describe the means of networking in virtual communities and became popular in 2003 with the advent of websites such as Friendster, Tribe.net and LinkedIn. There are over 200 social networking sites, though Friendster is one of the most successful at using the Circle of Friends technique. The popularity of these sites rapidly grew, and major companies have entered the Internet social networking space. For example, Google launched orkut on 22 January 2004. 2002 is a common year starting on Tuesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... A virtual community is a group whose members are connected by means of information technologies, typically the Internet. ... 2003 is a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Friendster Logo Friendster is a social networking website. ... Tribe. ... LinkedIn Logo LinkedIn is a social networking web site, used mostly for business connections. ... Google, Inc. ... orkut is a virtual community designed to help users meet new friends and maintain existing relationships. ... January 22 is the 22nd day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar. ... 2004 is a leap year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar. ...

In these communities, an initial set of founders sends out messages inviting members of their own personal networks to join the site. New members repeat the process, growing the total number of members and links in the network. Sites then offer features such as automatic address book updates, viewable profiles, the ability to form new links through "introduction services," and other forms of online social connections. Social networks can also be organized around business connections, as for example in the case of ReferNet or Shortcut. Shortcut is a Swedish-language magazine and meeting place centred on work and lifestyle. ...

See also

The organizational development (OD) concept of a community of practice (often abbreviated as CoP) refers to the process of social learning that occurs when people who have a common interest in some subject or problem collaborate to share ideas, find solutions, and build innovations. ... A sexual network is a social network that is defined by the sexual relationships between a set of individuals. ... Social contract is a phrase used in philosophy, political science, and sociology to denote a real or hypothetical agreement within a state regarding the rights and responsibilities of the state and its citizens, or more generally a similar concord between a group and its members. ... The Social Web refers to an open global distributed data sharing network similar to todays World Wide Web, except instead of linking documents, the Social Web will link people, organizations, and concepts. ... The Augmented Social Network (ASN) was proposed in a June 2003 paper presented at the PlaNetwork Conference by Ken Jordan, Jan Hauser, and Steven Foster. ... A virtual community is a group whose members are connected by means of information technologies, typically the Internet. ... The social safety net is a term used to describe a collection of services provided by the state (such as welfare, universal healthcare, homeless shelters, and perhaps various subsidized services such as transit), which prevent any individual from falling into poverty beyond a certain level. ... Six degrees of separation is the theory that anyone on the planet can be connected to any other person on the planet through a chain of acquaintances that has no more than five intermediaries. ... The small world phenomenon (also known as the small world effect) is the hypothesis that everyone in the world can be reached through a short chain of social acquaintances. ...

External links

An IRC bot is a set of scripts or an independent program that performs special funtions on Internet Relay Chat. ... Internet Relay Chat (IRC) is a form of instant communication over the Internet. ...

Examples of Internet social networking systems, otherwise known as YASNS

Please note that these external links may lead to commercial services. With a lull following the much-unnoticed creation and disappearance of the original Sixdegrees. ...

  • 24eyes (http://www.24eyes.com) — an online RSS Dashboard that combines news aggregation with news sharing, publishing and tagging.
  • academici (http://www.academici.com/) — global online social network for research and higher education.
  • The ArtBoom (http://www.ArtBoom.net) — an on-going family tree of the art world started by Yucef Merhi in 1999 using the prototype of the first wristwatch-camera.
  • AudioScrobbler (http://www.audioscrobbler.com) — An open source social networking website and application that deals solely with music.
  • Barnraiser (http://www.barnraiser.org) — GNU/GPL free software social networking and group collaboration software.
  • Beltrano.com.br (http://www.beltrano.com.br) — A social network in Portuguese.
  • bigcampus.net (http://www.bigcampus.net) — A social network designed by college students for college students.
  • BuddyBuzz (http://www.buddybuzz.net) — Created by the Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab, BuddyBuzz combines a reading club (people who rate content) with mobility (you read text from the screen of your mobile phone).
  • CozyDating.com (http://www.CozyDating.com) — A social networking and dating service (email, chat, video).
  • CanYouConnect.com (http://www.CanYouConnect.com) — A social networking service that allows you to create personal, professional, and private networks (photos, blogs, calendar, chat, instant messenger, personal web page, file space).
  • Connection Pipeline (http://www.connectionpipeline.com) — social networking site for business and technology professionals.
  • CityVox (http://www.cityvox.com) — the French take up the Scandinavian challenge with this multilingual city guide. They recently added a community feature.
  • Check Your Network First (http://www.cynf.com) — a combination of social networking, trust and asset sharing to enable the creation of controlled-access libraries.
  • Desihub (http://www.desihub.com) — indian social networking and community building site
  • Doostang (http://www.doostang.com) — "trusted professional" network with job postings.
  • Ecademy (http://www.ecademy.com) — international business to business social network with high levels of user driven content (blogs, articles, and affinity groups/clubs).
  • eConozco (http://www.econozco.com) — Social Networking for spanish speaking professionals (Spain and Latin America).
  • eGrupos (http://www.egrupos.com) — Integrates social networking tools with email groups/mailing lists (calendar, events, polls, etc.) as well as auctions.
  • Eventbee (http://www.eventbee.com) — Event social networking
  • Flight Club (http://www.flight-club.org) — Air Travel and Airport Social Networking
  • FriendSurfer.com (http://www.friendsurfer.com) — socially networked blogs, moblogs, bookmarks, rating, and photos.
  • Funchain.com (http://www.funchain.com) — socially networked blogs, or FriendBlogs that connect posts made by users.
  • Getin.ca (http://www.getin.ca) — keep in touch with friends and family and share your "life" with Canada's Social Networking web site
  • Global Pau Hana (http://www.globalpauhana.org) — social networking for people from Hawaii provided in partnership with State of Hawaii Department of Economic Development.
  • Gazzag (http://www.gazzag.com) — Social network available in English, Spanish, French, German and Portuguese.
  • GoodNotes (http://www.goodnotes.org) — Opensource browser extension to share bookmarks and annotations between students and teachers.
  • Headless Hunter Referral Marketplace (http://www.headlesshunter.com) — a site that uses social networking for recruiting purposes.
  • hi5 (http://www.hi5.com/)
  • thehoosierweb.com (http://www.thehoosierweb.com) — a student operated social network at Indiana University.
  • Huminity (http://www.huminity.com) — a social networking downloadable client (Microsoft Windows only).
  • icelounge (http://www.icelounge.com) — a social networking site created for the skateboarding community.
  • InsiderPages.com (http://www.insiderpages.com) — find local services like contractors, lawyers, doctors, etc. by searching customer reviews.
  • introNetworks (http://www.intronetworks.com)
  • Judy's Book (http://www.judysbook.com) — socially networked recommendations, reviews, articles and advice.
  • kibop (http://www.kibop.com) — Social networking for Hispanics worldwide, in English, Spanish and Portuguese.
  • Lightstalkers (http://www.lightstalkers.org) — networking for photographers and media professionals
  • Linkedin (http://www.linkedin.com) — a professional social networking website.
  • LiveJournal (http://www.livejournal.com) — online journal which links users through friends lists
  • London Networking EXPO (http://www.londonnetworkingexpo.com) — The London Networking EXPO™ is a quarterly event that provides a social framework for individuals to expand their network of contacts.
  • Meetro (http://www.meetro.com) — a hybrid chat software / social network focused on meeting people immediately within a given physical radius.
  • Meetup (http://www.meetup.com) — an online portal that facilitates offline group meetings in various localities around the world.
  • Multiply (http://multiply.com) — Web publishing (photo albums, blogs, calendar) combined with social network-based messaging.
  • Moleskiing (http://www.moleskiing.it) — a community site (in Italian) where users can keep a blog about their ski mountaineering trips on Northern Italian mountains.
  • MEETin.org (http://www.meetin.org) — organizing events for the 21 to 40 crowd.
  • Muvuca (http://www.muvuca.eti.br) — a social networking website for Brazilians.
  • myaarzoo.com (http://www.myaarzoo.com) — An online social network, matrimonial and classified website.
  • Neatvibe (http://www.neatvibe.com/) — a social network with a community confessions forum.
  • NetQI (http://www.netqi.com.br) — Brazilian social and business networking site.
  • Neurona.com (http://www.neurona.com) — Business Networking site for Spanish speaking professionals (Spain & Latin America).
  • .node (http://www.dotnode.com) — a worldwide network without any language restrictions.
  • Oodalay (http://www.oodalay.com) — a online social discovery community connecting people through shared networks of friends.
  • Open Business Club (http://www.openbc.com) — a multilingual social and business network supporting English, German, Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, Dutch, Swedish, Finnish, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Polish, Hungarian and Turkish.
  • Orkut (http://www.orkut.com) — an online community that connects people through a network of trusted friends.
  • Parchepinga (http://www.parchepinga.com) — Colombians and Latinos Online Social Networking.
  • Peer Factors (http://www.peerfactors.com) — A social networking to help you search for your true peers.
  • Plate.State (http://www.platestate.com) — Anyone. Anywhere. Anytime. License Plate based social network.
  • PLATESTER (http://www.platester.Com) — A License Plate Based Online Social Networking Community.
  • ReferNet (http://www.refernet.net) — a business networking community for entrepreneurs and service vertical industries (i.e. real estate, insurance, financial services, service providers, etc.).
  • Relationship Intelligence (http://www.leveragesoftware.com) — corporate social network site with visualization and collaboration features.
  • Ryze (http://www.ryze.com) — A business to business networking community for entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs.
  • Shortcut (http://www.shortcut.nu) — global, Swedish language online community.
  • The Social Service (http://www.thesocialservice.com) — London-based socialising site.
  • Social Networking Services Meta List (http://socialsoftware.weblogsinc.com/sns-meta-list/) — multi-category networking site, including business, dating, etc.
  • SpurIntoAction (http://www.spinac.com) Social Networking with the emphasis on Socialising with real people at real events
  • StumbleUpon (http://www.stumbleupon.com) — a web discovery service which integrates peer-to-peer and social networking with blogging.
  • Talentpod (http://www.talentpod.com/)
  • Tribe.Net (http://www.tribe.net) — a smaller online social network based in San Francisco and focused on like minded people.
  • UUSwap (http://www.uuswap.com) — social networking services allowing people to trade with friends of friends.
  • SNShortcut (http://www.snshortcut.com) — One more social newtork with some more services, like blogs, rss etc.
  • The Virtual Handshake (http://www.TheVirtualHandshake.Com) — online social network and blog site.
  • Wallflowerz.com (http://www.wallflowerz.com) — an online social network that pays users for helping people meet.
  • WorldDJ.com (http://www.WorldDJ.com) — An electronic dance music, DJ and clubbing website with social networking functionality (social networking section currently by invite only).
  • Yelp! (http://www.yelp.com) — search for local services via recommendations.
  • socialnetworking.jp (http://www.socialnetworking.jp/) — about social networking and social software in Japan.

  Results from FactBites:
efios knowledge management (Social Network Analysis) (375 words)
SNA will create useful patterns of information of the way people relate, which is many times in sharp contrast to the formal organization to which they belong.
Network analysis creates a framework in which mathematical measurement of structures and systems can exists - which could be almost impossible to describe without relational concepts; by doing so it takes the method away from metaphors or intuition which are described in social or personal relationships.
Looking at social network analysis for the purpose of communities of practice, a more cognitive approach can be taken by asking respondents to tell about their relationships with other members of the community.
What is Social Network Analysis? (622 words)
Network analysis is the study of social relations among a set of actors.
Whereas mainstream social science is concerned with monadic attributes (e.g., income, age, sex, etc.), network analysis is concerned with attributes of pairs of individuals, of which binary relations are the main kind.
Complete network analysis is where you try to obtain all the relationships among a set of respondents, such as all the friendships among employees of a given company.
  More results at FactBites »



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