Monday, November 19, 2007

eTwinning/bookmarks and social networks

Excellent write up here about SNA on social networking sites. This makes me think of eTwinning, or my social bookmarks, and the SNA analysis there to better support users.

Kumar, Novak and Tomkins (200&) saw that network activity is of three types:
  • “Singletons,” who have no connections and are least central
  • The “giant component,” which is the largest group of nodes tightly connected to the central nodes and to each other
  • The “middle region,” which represents isolated groups which interact amongst themselves but not with the rest of the network, forming isolated stars. These groups grow one user at a time. Over time they merge with the giant component.

The node analysis of these networks showed that more than half of a social network is outside the giant component where the greatest centrality lies. They used the “control” definition of centrality to determine this. The research also highlighted a prevalence of “stars” in the middle region which are mini social networks, typically driven by one dynamic member who serves as the point of centrality with others serving as satellite nodes – connected to the dynamic member but not to each other. In Kumar, Novak and Tomkins’ analysis the middle region represented one-third of users on Flickr and about ten percent of users on Yahoo! 360.

Also keep in mind that the most growth happens in the middle region where dynamic members influence others to join their network. These sub-networks can gradually join the giant component over time. Once they do, the importance of the dynamic member diminishes. Even if that dynamic member were to leave the network, the others would stay in the network.
So, what is needed is to support the "stars" in their growth so that they become independent of that one dynamic member and are able to continue even without that person.

1 comment:

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