08 December 2012

Basic Terminology

There are lots of terms used in Social Network Analysis. Just ask the people at Facebook. Yes, they are one of the largest players in the Network Analysis game. They analyze everything you do in order to figure out how to make money from a free service. Wonderful how that works, isn't it.

NOTE : A Glossary page has been added. Whenever new terms are introduced the new definitions will also be added there.

Some Basic Terminology

There are lots of terms when speaking about Network Analysis. More than I would ever expect people to want to learn. But in order to understand some of the future articles, it will be necessary to have a grasp on some of the basics. They will give you better understand of the articles.

A Social Network is comprised of people (or organizations) connected by any sort of interaction be it family, friends, interests, or beliefs. These relationships, or networks, are displayed in a diagram where nodes [the characters] are connected by links [The connections between characters].

Centrality measures one’s impact, based on how well they “connect” to other members of the network. It’s not just about having the most connections, but also where those connections lead to. It's also important how they are connected.

Betweenness represents the number of people connected indirectly through another character's direct links.

Closeness measures the extent to which a character is near all other characters in a network (directly or indirectly). It shows how one character might access information through their connections in the network [think grapevine].

Degree is the number of links to other people in the network.

Boundary Spanners are the people that connect disparate groups. They are often a source of innovation since they serve as a connector to the other people a cluster typically does not interact with.

Pendants are nodes only one connection to the network. These can also be outliers.

Isolates are nodes which are not connected to any other nodes.

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