Do Friends Count?

I have a few friends on Facebook. Last week at the Social Network/ing Conference, I was reminded that the Many Eyes application has a Facebook application that quickly grabs your social network and allows you to paste it into Many Eyes to get a quick visualization of your social network. I finally got around to trying mine.

This is actually rather cool. Facebook doesn’t make the network graphically visible. If you think about it a bit, read the friends lists of your friends you can get that extra degree of connection. This graphic though makes it immediately and visibly clear. I have to imagine myself at the centre of this group, but it is obvious that I am tied in through association to 3 clear networks with two outliers. If you click on the embedded Many Eyes image above you can go to the site and play with this nodes and stretch the edges. The three groups are multimedia/communication studies, fencing and soccer. Clearly they have interconnections. Some of the connections are surprising…as are some of the connections not made ;-) It’s all about the social.

The next dimension here would be to get a feel for the heat of these edges. If we could take the wall postings or messages between nodes and add this as an edge strength visualization it would give a better indication of either which of these networks tend to make use of social networking technology or of realistically which groups I might be more involved with. In all, intriguing and worth some pondering on my part.

For the Facebook users out there…here’s a quick and fun way to do a little social network analysis!

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