Category Archives: Social Network Sites

Graph your Facebook friends

Bernie Hogan is my new hero.  He has written  a lovely little app that allows you to extract your Facebook network in a format that you can use in GUESS or UCINET.

My Online Network.

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Filed under Social Network Sites, Social Networks, technology

Networks and jobs

It is always interesting to me how much people like the “strength of weak ties” argument.  It is so familiar to me, I forget how powerful it can be.  I mentioned it in my Bucknell “new faculty” profile, and ended up getting a media request from an on-line columnist.

I may not have given her the “five hot tips” for job hunting she wanted (of course, if they were so hot, why would I give them away, or why would she?), but it was fun to try and riff for a few minutes on netcentric insights.

Here is what I said:

I can give you a few insights from my background studying social networks.

Most people assume that they will get the most support from those closest to them: family and long time friends. This is true for one kind of social capital: the strong ties that make us feel safe and foster healthy self-confidence. However, weak ties, old school mates, friends of friends, former co-workers and the like, are valuable for a differ reason: they are far more likely to be have information different from yours due to the fact that your strong ties tend to be linked to each other, whereas each of your weak ties is unlikely to be linked to your other weak ties. Research has shown that job seekers, especially younger ones, attain employment through the information gleaned from weak ties.

At the same time, networks are two way streets. People can sense and will avoid a “network jerk.” Even though some companies, like Amway, try to marketize pre-existing relations, most of us prefer that community and friendship ties and not just a façade to get to something valuable. I tell my students, in short, that you have to be a real person and grow your networks and relationships for the sake of the relationships.

LinkedIn or other SNS can simplify or accelerate existing social processes. Just as people in real networks rely on signals to determine how much they like a new contact, signals like their credential, who they know, how they present themselves, so too in virtual networks powered by web 2.0 software. In virtual networks, employers or HR mangers will develop ways to “read” the candidate through their profile. In fact, the speed and ease of linking in SNS can have a perverse effect for job seekers. If I am an employer looking for employees, I want to avoid a deluge of inappropriate applicants. If it is too easy to find or link to me in a virtual network like facebook, then I will limit accessibility. If I saw a recent grad with 200-300 contacts in LinkedIn, I would be skeptical that these were real and relevant contacts and not just the result of excessive “friending.”

Here are some more resources you may find useful:

http://nevereatalone.typepad.com/

Getting a Job (by author of original weak ties work): http://books.google.com/books?id=2xgEIBTTdVUC

Recent work that includes gender in questions of networks and careers: http://knowledge.insead.edu/contents/Ibarra.cfm

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Filed under Media, Social Network Sites, Social Networks, technology

Social Networks gains another level of salience

While over at socnet, there is a discussion of how “social networks” has become totally co-opted and stolen by the rise of the social networking sites/services (MySpace, Facebook, Okrut, LinkedIn, etc), i stumbled on to the new HP TouchSmart computer marketing campaign.  By the way, the author of the post above, Guy Hagen, is totally correct that social networks are as old as the species while SNS are, well, younger.

(I wonder what is the first SNS?  Orkut?  Tribe.net? It would be nice to have a brief history of SNS.  What would minimal definition be?  Profiles+relationship building+messaging system… Is that enough?)

The HP touchSmart, which looks pretty cool, bills itself as the one machine that will enable you to manage your digital life.  “It puts your digital life at your fingertips giving you instant access to info, entertainment, and social networks.”  So, not only has social networks as a term become a whole genre of applications, but even a class of functions like photography, word processing, or data management.

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Filed under Future of Technology, Social Network Sites, Social Networks, words

Conference leads for Ted

Possible conference venues for SL paper… Some may be for next year assuming they repeat.

Social Aaspects of Web

Computer Human Interaction fro Managing IT:

Economics and Finance modeling– see mostly the idea of emergence in complex systems.  Thats our emergent layer.

Tools for participation. This one is more about VW as place for collaboration or new forms of community.

ACM Hypertext… They may be only about links now but by next year interworld links will be an issue?

Intntl Conf on Computer Mediated Social Networking

Weblogs and Social Media– isn’t a VW the ultimate social media???

You gotta love any conference with Hawai’i in the title. this is about VW specifically.

Adaptive Hypermedia and Adaptive Web-Based Systems

Any leads?

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Filed under conferences, Information and Communication Technology, innovation, Living Web, New Projects, participatory technology, Research, Social Network Sites, technology, virtual worlds

Map of Social Networking Sites around The World (from Le Monde)

A nice person at socnet forwarded this map of SNS sites around the world. My French is quel horrible but it seems that a quarter of all activity is North America. WE can see that Orkut still has its lock in in Brazil which drives Latin America. I had not hear of Bebo, so now I would like to check this out.

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Filed under Business, Information and Communication Technology, Social Network Sites, Social Networks

Social Networking and Business

Peter Durand asked this question over at linkedin.

I thought to myself, “I should be able to say something about this.” Here is my first crack. I think its ok. Its helpful to have someone with a practical question ask it to get me to focus.

My initial response raises more questions (which I’ll return to at the end.)

What is the most effective way for a professional service firm to use social networking apps? (After all quantity of connections does not equal quality.)

(1) What are the business goals behind the use of social networking Web 2.0 apps such as LinkedIn, Plaxo and Facebook?
(2) As volume of connections increase, how can integrity and authenticity be maintained?
(3) And, most tricky, how can the business value of social networking apps be described to senior leaders who tend to operate on the other side of the technology gap?

Great questions. I need to have good answers for myself. Some quick hits.

1) The goal for any particular business must be part of an overall approach to customers and relationship management. However, if a given business seeks or has one way, firm to customer communication, they will find lots of conflicts because most SNS have reciprocity built into them.
2) Facebook is an interesting case. Due to its initial growth exclusively through college domain name emails (bubba@college.edu) college students flocked to it creating a “network effect.” A network effect is when a product becomes more valuable as the network of users increases. The value of a carrot to me is not affected by the number of carrot owners. The value of fax machine goes up as more people have them. But, now that Facebook has thrown itself open, will the attractiveness of network effects offset the negatives of the lower baseline trustworthiness of the average user. The second half of that sentence is the predator fear. On MySpace, due to its low threshold for authenticating users, I don’t know who is a predator so newbies are vulnerable and power users are wary.

3) Short answer: how do they feel about this: Cluetrain.com elevator pitch. If they feel threatened, don’t bother. If they feel invigorated, than explain that SNS are a way to have more conversations between you and any one of your customers/stakeholders.

If that seems like too much of a cop out, especially for decision makers who feel threatened by conversations but can be convinced otherwise, I might try this.

Markets are about conversations. Even when you don’t see or monitor those conversations, it is the most natural form of communicating. In a brand-intense, information saturated economy, conversations are even more important, and the new scarcity, the new value driver is “real” conversations. For more and more people, they are choosing to substitute many-to-many forms of communication for the older one-to-many. That is the difference between a radio ad and a blog, between mass media and wiki media. We are not “adding” SNS to our lives, we are building our lives around them, and adding TV, print, radio as we need or want to.

Peter’s Blog response.

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Filed under Business, Networks, participatory technology, Social Network Sites

Plaxo Is Said to Be for Sale

Social Net Site Is Said to Be for Sale – New York Times

They were getting beat out by Facebook and LinkedIn.  What has happened with Orkut, Friendster, Tribe.net, and other SNS (social networking sites)? Will they adapt, consolidate, or disappear?   Seems like a good case study of an emerging field of competitors.  Do new rules apply, or the same old industrial organization and strategic evolution? Or, like the persistent synthetic worlds Castronova described (like Ultima Online), will they persist due to the stickiness of social ties?

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Filed under economic evolution, economic sociology, innovation, management, Social Network Sites

Social Networks Trendy Again

Thanks to Valdis Krebs for pushing this out over the SOCNET listserv.

Apparently, Social Network Analysis and its every-alluring eye candy graphs are super trendy again.  As only the cognoscenti of Silicon Valley could anoint, of course.   Not that I am complaining too much.  It has been very helpful to me and establishing my unique contributions that networks an network science are seen as got-to-have knowledge.

When Zuckerberg . of Facebook fame, showed off the new open, platform-oriented Facebok, the widget was a social graph producer.

A NEW fad is sweeping across Silicon Valley, causing excitement, confusion and hyperbole not seen since the dotcom bubble. It began in May, when Mark Zuckerberg, ten days after turning 23, took the stage in a San Francisco warehouse and announced that he was opening up Facebook, the social network he founded at Harvard University, to outside programmers. Anyone can now build little programs, or “widgets”, into the network. To illustrate his idea, Mr Zuckerberg projected onto the wall behind him a “social graph”—a pattern of nodes representing Facebook users and the links among them.

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Filed under Information and Communication Technology, Network Visuals, Social Network Sites, Social Networks

Second Life’s Real-World Problems

A student of mine (Thanks Ellie!) found this article about SL in Time.  Does the SLLA want no commerce?  Or no bricks-and-mortar commerce? Is this anarchy or mercantilism?  And what did Linden do to SLLA?  Any sanctions?

Second Life’s Real-World Problems – TIME
The dilemma for Linden Lab, the company running Second Life, is how to rein in its creation without alienating hard-core users. Fans love the site as a way to meet people and experiment in self-expression. And companies are drawn to these techno-savvy trendsetters who spent 22 million hours on the site last month. But some devotees are so upset by increasing commercialization that a group called the Second Life Liberation Army last year gunned down virtual shoppers at American Apparel. So-called griefing, or on-site harassment, is on the rise. Says Gartner research chief Steve Prentice: “Second Life is moving into a phase of disillusionment.”

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Filed under Protest, Resistance, Second Life, Social Network Sites

US launches ‘MySpace for spies’

US government realizes it can use living web technology to do collaborative work.  Does this make them early adopters or laggards?

Part of answer is point of reference.  They are early adopters for federal government but laggard compared to your average 15 year old.

FT.com / World – US launches ‘MySpace for spies’

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Filed under Information and Communication Technology, innovation, national security, Social Network Sites