Connected Action

Sociology and the Internet, Social Media, Networks and Mobile Social Software

Marc Smith



Dr. Marc A. Smith
Chief Social Scientist
Connected Action Consulting Group

[email protected]

Marc Smith is a sociologist specializing in the social organization of online communities and computer mediated interaction. He founded and managed the Community Technologies Group at Microsoft Research in Redmond, Washington and led the development of social media reporting and analysis tools for Telligent Systems. Smith leads the Connected Action consulting group and lives and works in Silicon Valley, California. He is a co-founder of the Social Media Research Foundation which is dedicated to Open Tools, Open Data, and Open Scholarship related to social media.

Smith is the co-editor with Peter Kollock of Communities in Cyberspace (Routledge), a collection of essays exploring the ways identity; interaction and social order develop in online groups. Smith contributes to the open and free NodeXL project ( from the Social Media Research Foundation that adds social network analysis features to the familiar Excel spreadsheet. A book, co-authored with Derek Hansen and Ben Shneiderman,  Analyzing Social Media Networks with NodeXL: Insights from a connected world, is a guide to mapping connections created through computer-mediated interactions (released in 2010 from Morgan-Kaufmann).

Smith’s research focuses on computer-mediated collective action: the ways group dynamics change when they take place in and through social cyberspaces. Many “groups” in cyberspace produce public goods and organize themselves in the form of a commons (for related papers see below).  Smith’s goal is to visualize these social cyberspaces, mapping and measuring their structure, dynamics and life cycles. At Microsoft, he developed the “Netscan” web application and data mining engine that allows researchers studying Usenet newsgroups and related repositories of threaded conversations to get reports on the rates of posting, posters, crossposting, thread length and frequency distributions of activity. Smith applied this work to the development of a generalized community analysis platform for Telligent, providing a web based system for groups of all sizes to discuss and publish their material to the web and analyze the emergent trends that result.

The Connected Action consulting group ( applies social science methods in general and social network analysis techniques in particular to enterprise and internet social media usage. SNA analysis of data from message boards, blogs, wikis, friend networks, and shared file systems can reveal insights into organizations and processes. Community managers can gain actionable insights into the volumes of community content created in their social media repositories. Mobile social software applications can visualize patterns of association that are otherwise invisible.

Smith received a B.S. in International Area Studies from Drexel University in Philadelphia in 1988, an M.Phil. in social theory from Cambridge University in 1990, and a Ph.D. in Sociology from UCLA in 2001. He is a adjunct faculty at the College of Information Studies at the University of Maryland. Smith is also a Distinguished Visiting Scholar at the Media-X Program at Stanford University.

Marc Smith's Mendeley citations
Marc Smith's Google Scholar citations
Google Scholar listing.


Photo stream:


See the Charting Collections of Connections video
See the NodeXL Twitter Social Media Network visualization video
See the Online Community Video
See the Usenet Views Overview
See the AURA Video

Exhibits, Performances, Demonstrations, and Other Creative Activities

Whitney Museum exhibit, 2003:
Places and Space exhibit, 2006:


Smith, Marc and Peter Kollock, 2001. Communities in Cyberspace, London: Routledge Press

Derek Hansen, Ben Shneiderman, and Marc Smith, Analyzing Social Media Networks with NodeXL: Insights from a connected world, (Morgan-Kaufmann)  2010.

Chapters in books

Welser, Howard T, Thomas Lento, Marc A. Smith, Eric Gleave, and Itai Himelboim. 2008. “A Picture is Worth a Thousand Questions: Visualization Techniques for Social Science Discovery in Computational Spaces” in e-Research: Transformations in Scholarly Practice. Ed. Nicholas Jankowski. Routledge.

Marc Smith, Danyel Fisher, Tom Lento, Ted Welser, Distilling Digital Traces, Internet Methods Handbook, 2007, Oxford University Press.

Smith, Marc and Howard T. Welser. 2005. “Collective Action Dilemmas.” In Fisher, K E., Erdelez, S., & McKechnie, E. F. (Eds.). Theories of information behavior: A researcher’s guide. Medford, NJ: Information Today.

Marc Smith. Measures and Maps of Usenet. In From Usenet to Cowebs. Edited by Christopher Lueg and Danyel Fisher, pp. 47-78. London: Springer-Verlag, 2003.

Byron Burkhalter and Marc Smith. Inhabitant’s uses and reactions to Usenet social accounting data, In Inhabited Information Spaces, Snowden and Churchill, 2003.

Marc Smith. Invisible Crowds in Cyberspace: Measuring and Mapping the Social Structure of USENET in Communities in Cyberspace: Perspectives on New Forms of Social Organization. London, Routledge Press, 1999.

Peter Kollock and Marc Smith. 1999. “Introduction: Communities in Cyberspace.” Pp. 3-25 in Communities in Cyberspace, edited by Marc Smith and Peter Kollock. London: Routledge Press, 1999.

Peter Kollock and Marc Smith. “Managing the Virtual Commons: Cooperation and Conflict in Computer Communities.Computer-Mediated Communication, edited by S. Herring. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 1996.

Articles in Refereed Journals

Himelboim, I., McCreery, S., & Smith, M. (2013). Birds of a feather tweet together: Integrating network and content analyses to examine cross-ideology exposure on Twitter. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 18(2), 40-60. DOI: 10.1111/jcc4.12001

Himelboim, Itai, Marc Smith, and Ben Shneiderman. “Tweeting Apart: Applying Network Analysis to Detect Selective Exposure Clusters in Twitter.Communication Methods and Measures 7.3 (2013): 169-197.

Garrett, R.K., B. Bimber, H.G. de Zuniga, F. Heinderyckx, J. Kelly, and M. Smith. 2011. “New ICTs and the Study of Political Communication.” International Journal of Communication. 5: 1-20.

Himelboim, Itai, Eric Gleave, and Marc Smith. 2009.  Discussion catalysts in online political discussions: Content importers and conversation starters. The Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, Vol. 14.

Welser, Howard T., Eric Gleave, Danyel Fisher, and Marc Smith. 2007. Visualizing the Signatures of Social Roles in Online Discussion Groups. The Journal of Social Structure. 8(2). [Local copy]

Tammara Turner, Marc Smith, Danyel Fisher and Howard Ted Welser, Picturing Usenet: Mapping computer-mediated collective action. Journal of Computer Mediated Communication, 2005. [Local copy]

Marc Smith. Some social implications of ubiquitous wireless networks ACM Mobile Computing and Communications Review, April 2001, Vol.4 No. 2

Monographs, Reports, and Extension Publications

Andrew Fiore and Marc Smith. Tree Map Visualizations of Newsgroups, Microsoft Research Technical Report, 2001.

Xiong, Rebecca ; Smith, Marc ; Drucker, Steven. Visualizations of Collaborative Information for End-Users, Microsoft Technical Report, 1999.

Book Reviews, Other Articles, and Notes

Marc Smith, Lee Rainie, Ben Shneiderman, and Itai Himelboim. Mapping Twitter Topic Networks: From Polarized Crowds to Community Clusters, Pew Research Internet Project, February 20, 2014

Marc Smith and Vladimir Barash.  2008. Social SQL: Tools for exploring social databases, Bulletin of the IEEE Computer Society Technical Committee on Data Engineering.

Marc Smith and Peter Kollock. What Do People Do IN Virtual Worlds? An Analysis OF VCHAT Log File Data, Unpublished report for Microsoft Corp., Redmond WA, 1998.

Marc Smith, Voices from the Well: The Logic of the Virtual Commons. Unpublished master’s thesis. 1992.

Refereed conference proceedings

Keegan, Brian C, Arber Ceni, and Marc A Smith. (2013) “Analyzing Multi-Dimensional Networks within MediaWikis“, Wikisym2013.

Smith, Marc A. “NodeXL: Simple network analysis for social media.” Collaboration Technologies and Systems (CTS), 2013 International Conference on 20 May. 2013: 89-93.

Eduarda Mendes Rodrigues, Natasa Milic-Frayling, Marc Smith, Ben Shneiderman, Derek Hansen, Group-in-a-box Layout for Multi-faceted Analysis of Communities. IEEE Third International Conference on Social Computing, October 9-11, 2011. Boston, MA

Hansen, D., Smith, M., Shneiderman, B., EventGraphs: charting collections of conference connections. Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences. Forty-Forth Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS). January 4-7, 2011. Kauai, Hawaii.

Hansen, D., Shneiderman, B., and Smith, M. A., Visualizing threaded conversation networks: Mining message boards and email lists for actionable insights, In An, A. et al. (Eds.), Proc. Active Media Technology 2010, Lecture Notes in Computer Science 6335, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg (2010), 47-62.

Gleave, Eric, Howard T. Welser, Marc Smith, and Thomas Lento.  2009.  “A conceptual and operational definition of social role in online community.”   In Proceedings of the 42nd  Hawaii International Conference on Systems Sciences (HICSS), January 5-8. Computer Society Press.  (Best Paper, Digital Media and Communication Mini-Track)

Marc Smith, Derek Hansen, Eric Gleave, “Analyzing Enterprise Social Media Networks“, In SCA09: Proc. International Symposium on Social Computing Applications. IEEE Computer Society Press.

Howard Welser, Eric Gleave, Marc Smith, Vladimir Barash, Jessica Meckes. “Whither the Experts? Social affordances and the cultivation of experts in community Q&A systems“, in SIN ’09: Proc. international symposium on Social Intelligence and Networking. IEEE Computer Society Press.

Bonsignore, E.M., Dunne, C., Rotman, D., Smith, M., Capone, T., Hansen, D.L. & Shneiderman, B. (2009), “First steps to NetViz Nirvana: evaluating social network analysis with NodeXL“, In SIN ’09: Proc. international symposium on Social Intelligence and Networking. IEEE Computer Society Press.

Smith, M., Shneiderman, B., Milic-Frayling, N., Rodrigues, E.M., Barash, V., Dunne, C., Capone, T., Perer, A. & Gleave, E. (2009), “Analyzing (social media) networks with NodeXL“, In C&T ’09: Proc. fourth international conference on Communities and Technologies. New York, NY, USA., pp. 255-264. ACM.

Barash, Vladimir , Smith, Marc, Getoor, Lise, Welser, Howard, “Distinguishing Knowledge vs Social Capital in Social Media with Roles and Context“, 2009 Proceedings of the International Conference for Weblogs and Social Media (AAAI ICWSM 2009), San Jose, CA.

Gleave, Eric, Welser, Howard, Lento, Thomas, Smith, Marc “A conceptual and operational definition of “Social Role” in Online Community” The 42nd Hawaii International Conference of System Sciences (Best paper award).

Fisher, D., Turner, T.C., and Smith, M. (2008) Space Planning for Online Community. Proceedings of the International Conference on Weblogs and Social Media (AAAI ICWSM 2008), Seattle, WA

Welser, Ted, Lento, Thomas, Gleave, Eric, Smith, Marc, Some users pack a Wallop, AAAI International Conference on Weblogs and Social Media 2008.

Smith, Marc and Counts, Scott. The where we were, Proceedings of the ACM GIS 2007 Conference. [Local copy]

Welser, Ted, Lento, Thomas, Gleave, Eric, Smith, Marc. INSNA Sunbelt 2008 Social Roles Analysis Poster. International Network for Social Network Analysis (INSNA) Sunbelt 28.

Gleave, Eric and Marc Smith. 2007. “Reflections and Reactions to Social Accounting Meta-Data.” Communities and Technologies 2007. pp87-106 Springer. [Local copy]

Welser, Howard T., Eric Gleave, Danyel Fisher, and Marc Smith. 2007. Visualizing the Signatures of Social Roles in Online Discussion Groups. The Journal of Social Structure. 8(2). [Local copy]

Smith, Marc., Turner, Tammara, Gleave, Eric. Sharing Social Accounting Metadata – Lessons from Netscan, Conference on eSocial Science 2007.  [Local copy]

Lento, Thomas, Howard T. Welser, Lei Gu, and Marc Smith. 2006. “The Ties that Blog: Examining the Relationship between Social Ties and Continued Participation in the Wallop Weblogging System” WWW Third Annual Workshop on the Weblogging Ecosystem, Edinburgh, Ireland. [Local copy]

Fisher, D., Smith, M., and Welser, H. You Are Who You Talk To, Proceedings of HICSS, January 2006. (Best Paper, Digital Media and Communication Program) [Local copy]

Brian Meyers, A.J. Brush, Steven Drucker, Marc Smith, Dance your work away: exploring step user interfaces, Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI), 2006

Danyel Fisher, A.J. Brush, Eric Gleave, Marc Smith, Revisiting Whittaker & Sidner’s” email overload” ten years later, Proceedings of the 2006 20th anniversary conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW), 2006. [Local copy]

Adam Perer, Marc Smith, Contrasting portraits of email practices: visual approaches to reflection and analysis, Proceedings of the working conference on Advanced visual interfaces (AVI) 2006, Venice, Italy. [Local copy]

Marc Smith, Jeff Ubois, Benjamin M. Gross, Forward thinking, Second Conference on Email and Anti-Spam (CEAS), 2005.

Carman Neustaedter, A.J. Bernheim Brush, Marc A. Smith, Danyel Fisher. The Social Network and Relationship Finder: Social Sorting for Email Triage, Second Conference on Email and Anti-Spam (CEAS) 2005. [Local Copy]

Carman Neustaedter, A.J. Bernheim Brush, and Marc A. Smith, Beyond “From” and “Received”: Exploring the Dynamics of Email Triage, Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI), 2005.

A.J. Bernheim Brush, Tammara Combs Turner; Marc A. Smith; Neeti Gupta. Scanning Objects in the Wild: Assessing an Object Triggered Information System, Conference on Ubiquitous Computing Systems (UbiComp) 2005.

A.J. Bernheim Brush, Xiaoqing Wang, Tammara Combs Turner, and Marc A. Smith. Assessing Differential Usage of Usenet Social Accounting Meta-Data, Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI), 2005, 889-898.

Viégas, Fernanda B., Marc Smith. “Newsgroup Crowds and AuthorLines: Visualizing the Activity of Individuals in Conversational Cyberspaces“, Proceedings of Hawaii International Conference on Software and Systems (HICSS) 2004. [Best Paper: Persistent Conversation Minitrack]

Ken Hinckely, G Ramos, Francois Guimbretiere, Patrick Baudisch, Marc Smith, Stitching: pen gestures that span multiple displays. Proceedings of the working conference on Advanced visual interfaces (AVI), 2004. [Local Copy]

Marc A. Smith, Duncan Davenport, Howard Hwa, Tammara Combs Turner.  2004. Object AURAs: A Mobile Retailand Product Annotation System. ACM EC’04.

Marc Smith, Duncan Davenport, Howard Hwa. AURA: A mobile platform for object and location annotation, Conference on Ubiquitous Computing Systems (Ubicomp) 2003. [Local copy]

Andrew Fiore, Scott Lee Teirnan, and Marc Smith. Observed Behavior and Perceived Value of Authors in Usenet Newsgroups: Bridging the Gap, Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, (CHI) 2001. [Local Copy]

Marc Smith and Andrew Fiore. Visualization components for persistent conversations, Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI), 2001.

Marc Smith, Shelly Farnham, and Steven Drucker. The Social Life of Small Graphical Chats, Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI), 2000. [Local Copy]

Marc Smith, JJ Cadiz, and Byron Burkhalter, Conversation Trees and Threaded Chats, Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW), 2000. [Local Copy]

Dave Vronay, Smith, Marc, Steven Drucker. “Alternative Interfaces for Chat” in ACM UIST 1999

Un-refereed conference proceedings

John Kelly, Danyel Fisher, and Marc Smith. Friends, foes, and fringe: norms and structure in political discussion networks. Proceedings of the 2006 International Conference on Digital Government Research.

Danyel Fisher, Bernie Hogan, A.J. Brush, Marc Smith, Andrew Jacobs, Using social sorting to enhance email management, Human-Computer Interaction Consortium (HCIC’06)

John Kelly, Marc Smith, and Danyel Fisher. Opinion Diversity in Online Political Discussion Networks. Proceedings of Online Deliberation 2005, Directions in Advanced Computing (DIAC) 2005. [Non-refereed.]

Steven Drucker, Robert Kraut, Marc Smith, Barry Wellman. Counting on Community in Cyberspace. ACM CHI 1999.