Just curious about visualizing social network analytics

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Here’s something my PLN brought me over morning coffee this morning.  Actually the one this morning was in response to something I’d posted before on a thread to TALO (Teaching and Learning Online) http://groups.google.com/group/teachAndLearnOnline.  Michael Coghlan started the thread by suggesting:

Try going to http://www.google.com/s2/search/social#socialconnections while you are logged into a Google or gmail account!

I followed up with …

This is really nice.  Here’s something similar. 

This is a podcast by Dave Cormier talking about a bit of software called Gephi.  http://www.edtechtalk.com/EdTechWeekly186

If you’re interested in social network visualizations it would be worth listening to the first 15 min of the recording, where Dave talks you through the slide show about how he tracked his own network on Facebook and thereby distinguished the most connected from the least connected. 

His conclusion is striking.  This kind of software can be applied to connections within a MOOC, where networking is essential to success in the course, and identifying participants who are not making connections early enough to intervene and perhaps help them get with the program.

Roz said:

i think it’s creepy

And then Barbara Dieu contributed:

Linkedin has a tool that does the same thing.
What is interesting is that as I visualize these graphics , people I am connected to in Linkedin are not necessarily the same as in Facebook, Twitter or Gmail. Some networks may overlap but others are totally different.

Indeed.  I like Dave Cormier’s take personally, these are all ways that, well yes, gather data on us and display them in such a way that they might be available to sinister forces, but ignoring such ramifications (is Google evil? Is Facebook?) they do provide us tools with which we can examine our own surroundings, and then act on those data in positive ways (let’s hope).

In any event, the tools are out there, for better or for worse.



About Vance Stevens

http://vancestevens.com/papers http://adVancEducation.blogspot.com
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