Analyzing Social Media Networks with NodeXL:
Insights from a Connected World

Businesses, entrepreneurs, individuals, and government agencies alike are looking to social network analysis (SNA) tools for insight into trends, connections, and fluctuations in social media. NodeXL is a free, open-source SNA plug-in for use with Excel. It provides instant graphical representation of relationships of complex networked data. But it goes further than other SNA tools — NodeXL was developed by a multidisciplinary team of experts that bring together information studies, computer science, sociology, human-computer interaction, and over 20 years of visual analytic theory and information visualization into a simple tool anyone can use. This makes NodeXL of interest not only to end-users but also to researchers and students studying visual and network analytics and their application in the real world.

In Analyzing Social Media Networks with NodeXL: Insights from a connected world, members of the NodeXL development team up provide readers with a thorough and practical guide for using the tool while also explaining the development behind each feature. Blending the theoretical with the practical, this book applies specific SNA instructions directly to NodeXL, but the theory behind the implementation can be applied to any SNA.

  • Walks readers through using NodeXL while explaining the theory and development behind each step, providing takeaways that can apply to any kind of SNA
  • Demonstrates how visual analytics research can be applied to SNA tools for the mass market
  • Presents readers with case studies using NodeXL on popular networks like email, Facebook, Twitter, and wikis

Teaching with NodeXL

Materials to support teaching network concepts using NodeXL can be found at:

NodeXL Sample Files (version or later, for 32-bit or 64-bit machines)

IMPORTANT NOTE: After downloading these files make sure and use the Import –> “From NodeXL Workbook Created On Another Computer” to open the files. This will create your own copy and make sure that these versions open well in the most recent version of NodeXL that you have hopefully downloaded. Make sure you are using version or later.

  • Kite Network dataset – the simple kite networks used to teach basic network metrics
  • Serious Eats dataset – a multimodal network connecting people to blogs and/or forums
  • US Senate 2007 dataset – the co-voting network of US Senators in 2007
  • Les Miserable co-appearance network – the network of characters in Victor Hugo’s book based on their appearing in the same scenes together.
  • css-d_email list network – a network of those posting to the css-d email list in Jan and Feb of 2007 (email addresses are anonymized)
  • ABC-D_email list network – Discussion list network discussed in Chapter 9 of the book. Note that Eigenvector centrality is calculated slightly differently, as is Betweeness Centrality (which used to be normalized to the node with the highest score, but no longer is).
  • The following Enron Datasets are based on a subset of all available Enron email messages coded by researchers at the University of California at Berkeley (see Slight variations in numbers of email messages may result from different ways of handling non-standard email messages.
  • Enron_Dataset_Unfiltered – includes all 1,801 edges derived from work-related messages occurring later in the collection that discuss the California Energy Crisis.
  • Enron_Dataset_FERC_only – includes subset of unfiltered dataset that includes the term FERC somewhere in the email message (this is the one analyzed in Chapter 8 of the book).
  • Enron raw messages – Raw Enron messages that can be imported into NodeXL as described in Chapter 8 of the book)


“Using NodeXL is a key part of developing critical network literacies, understanding personal, professional and political networks is a skill we all need to develop today. This book is one of the simplest ways to gain network insights and build useful maps that can guide your decisions.”

Howard Rheingold, author, The Virtual Community, Smart Mobs; lecturer, Stanford, UC Berkeley

“Social networks are fundamental to all societies, but the SNA tools and concepts have often been esoteric and demanding. NodeXL is a easy and fun way to learn basic network concepts and techniques, readers can quickly develop mastery of core social network analysis concepts and apply them to personally meaningful data sets from popular services like email, Twitter, flickr, and Facebook.”

Prof. Barry Wellman, University of Toronto, Sociologist, Founder of the International Network for Social Network Analysis

“Social media inside organizations and enterprises creates new opportunities for mapping social networks at work. Using NodeXL is one of the simplest ways business managers can gain an introduction to social network concepts and visualizations by applying them to their own email, blogs, wikis, and other communication records. The insights from enterprise social networks can reveal the real “org-chart” – highlighting key people, groups, and locations in the organization.”

Prof. Rob Cross, University of Virginia, Author of Driving Results Through Social Networks and Hidden Power of Social Networks

“Analyzing Social Media Networks with NodeXL provides a much needed resource for the social media research community, as it describes network theory, provides compelling examples using data sources like Twitter and Flickr, and highlights how to use a free sophisticated tool for analysis. This is the perfect book for anyone trying to analyze the behavior of online social networks and beyond.”

Adam Perer, Research Scientist, IBM Research

“This book provides a basic introduction to social network analysis, followed by practical instruction and examples on gathering data from online sources, importing into Excel, and then analyzing the data through Excel. The book will be important for promoting research in the area for those in information science, sociology, cultural studies, virtual community, and e-commerce.”

Caroline Haythornthwaite, PhD, Professor, Graduate School of Library and Information Science, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

“As social media networks become critical to e-commerce and organizational strategies, potent social network analysis tools like NodeXL are essential to understand customer communities and optimize internal and external communication. This thorough and thoughtful book demonstrates the analysis and visualization of networks that can yield actionable insights.”

Tony Hey, Vice President, Microsoft Research, External Research

4 thoughts on “Book

  1. I need to download the less_miserables_example.xlsx but it says the page could not be found. Ineed help

  2. I just started working through section II of the book, and the graph metric values generated in my file are widely off from the example pics in the book. (except clustering coefficient)… I’m not sure what is going on as there seems to be little room for user error here (download, open, calculate). This has occurred both for the Kite and Miserables files. I am using NodeXL version Any help would be appreciated.

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