Connected Action

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

Pew Internet and Social Media Research Foundation Report: Six kinds of social media networks in Twitter

February 20th, 2014 by Marc Smith · No Comments

2013-Pew Banner Logo


NodeXL Logo

Working together,  the Pew Internet and American Life Project and the Social Media Research Foundation has published a report on the variations in social media crowd structures documented by network analysis and visualization of Twitter. The report is titled:

Mapping Twitter Topic Networks:
From Polarized Crowds to Community Clusters

The paper documents the distinct patterns of connection that emerge when people talk to one another using social media services like Twitter.  The paper includes six network visualizations that clearly demonstrate the diverse ways people connect to people when using online tools.

2014-Pew-SMRF-NodeXL-6 Kinds of social media network patterns - Animated

The report was produced by Marc Smith from the Social Media Research FoundationLee Rainie from the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life ProjectItai Himelboim professor of communications at the University of Georgia, and Ben Shneiderman professor of computer science from the University of Maryland.

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Podcast: Social Media Clarity S01E11: Interview danah boyd about “It’s Complicated”

February 4th, 2014 by Marc Smith · 4 Comments

Teens and Social Media

This week features hosts Randy Farmer (@frandallfarmer) and Scott Moore (@scottmoore) interviewing danah boyd (@zephoria) about her book It’s Complicated: the social lives of networked teens, coming out February 24th and available for preorder now.

image  image

Topics in the podcast interview include:

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2014 INSNA Sunbelt SNA Conference: February 18-23 – St. Petersburg, Florida

February 3rd, 2014 by Marc Smith · 5 Comments

2014-INSNA Sunbelt_logo

The INSNA Sunbelt social network conference will be held February 18-23 at the TradeWinds Island Resort on the island of St. Pete Beach.

There will be  NodeXL related talks at the conference.

NodeXL: Network Analysis Made Simple 
Tuesday February 18, 8:00am – 11:00am & 11:30am – 2:30pm

Marc Smith, Social Media Research Foundation
CITRUS Ballroom

Twitter Conversations as Network Structures: Typology and Measurements
Saturday February 22,

Itai Himelboim, Marc Smith, Ben Shneiderman, Lee Rainie

The conference schedule is available.

I hope to see you at the conference!

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StrataConf 2014 – February 11-13, Santa Clara – Network Science Made Simple: SNA for pie chart makers

February 3rd, 2014 by Marc Smith · 2 Comments


I will present at the 2014 Strata Conference in Santa Clara, CA on February 11, 2013.

Network Science Made Simple: SNA for pie chart makers

Marc Smith (Connected Action Consulting Group)
2:20pm Wednesday, 02/12/2014
Data Science
Ballroom ABNetworks are everywhere, particularly in social media. Understanding networks can quickly reveal the key people, groups, and topics that matter most. But the tools to collect, analyze, visualize, and gain insights into connected structures have remained complex. Now the free and open NodeXL application makes network analysis tasks as easy as making a pie chart. The Network Overview Discovery and Exploration add-in for Excel (2007, 2010, 2013) extends the familiar spreadsheet, enabling users to easily access networks from a range of data sources including Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Flickr, email, message boards, Wikis, blogs, and other repositories of connections. With simple automation tools, NodeXL users can calculate a range of network metrics, create a visualization, and generate a report highlighting key people, groups, and top URLs, hashtags, words and word pairs used in the discussion network. Network maps have revealed many of the hidden structures of social media, defining the major differences in the shapes and structures created as people link to one another.

I will also hold Office Hours at the event:

Office Hour with Marc Smith (Team NodeXL)

Marc Smith (Connected Action Consulting Group)
3:00pm Wednesday, 02/12/2014
Office Hour
Table A
If you have questions on social network analysis, meet with Marc to talk about:
  • NodeXL and related network analysis and visualization tools
  • How to collect, store, analyze, visualize, summarize and publish social network reports with just a few clicks (and no coding)
  • How to identify key influential people and subgroups within a conversation network
  • How to apply social network analysis to social media marketing
  • How to apply organizational network analysis to enterprise collaboration

Above is a map of the connections among the people who recently tweeted the term “strataconf” over the 7-day, 19-hour, 38-minute period from Sunday, 26 January 2014 at 21:53 UTC to Monday, 03 February 2014 at 17:32 UTC.  The key people in the network at this point are:

  • @strataconf
  • @oreillymedia
  • @thedatacrunch
  • @dataiku
  • @alpinedatalabs
  • @sasanalytics
  • @zettaforce
  • @bigdata
  • @josemariasiota
  • @tibco

You can make these types of maps with just a few clicks using NodeXL.

I hope to see you in Santa Clara!

Strata Conference 2014

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S01E10: Social Media Clarity Podcast: The myth of selective sharing

January 21st, 2014 by Marc Smith · No Comments

2014-Social Media Clarity - Hosts

The latest episode of the Social Media Clarity podcast is now available! This week features a discussion among the hosts Randy Farmer (@frandallfarmer),  Scott Moore (@scottmoore) and I (@marc_smith) about the promise and pitfalls of selective sharing.

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January 31, 2014 – Kansas State University – Webinar: Social Media Maps and Measures with NodeXL

January 16th, 2014 by Marc Smith · No Comments

2014-Kansas State University - Logo

I will present a remote seminar at Kansas State University – on Jan. 31 about how to create social media maps and measures with NodeXL.

The remote presentation will take place 1-2:30 p.m. (Central Time) Friday, Jan. 31, in 301 Hale Library.  All are welcome to attend.


This is a map of the network of 2,785 Twitter users whose recent tweets contained ““kansas state” OR KState” over the 1-day, 23-hour, 14-minute period from Monday, 13 January 2014 at 17:06 UTC to Wednesday, 15 January 2014 at 16:20 UTC.


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S01E09 – Social Media Clarity Podcast – Prof. Paul Resnick on Incentive Centered Design

January 8th, 2014 by Marc Smith · No Comments

Paul Resnick Portrait Building Successfull Online Communities

Ratings, Reputation and Incentive Design

The latest episode of the Social Media Clarity podcast features an interview with Dr. Paul Resnick from the University of Michigan. Dr. Resnick is a leading researcher in incentive based design – the study and development of tools like recommender and reputation systems. In this discussion we hear about what may be the impending limits of crowdsourcing: when the long tail is poisoned.

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S01E08 – Social Media Clarity Podcast: Randy Farmer on why users always find a way to create objectionable content

December 30th, 2013 by Marc Smith · 1 Comment

In the latest episode of the Social Media Clarity podcast host Randy Farmer tells an industry story about the inevitability of end users creating content that offends someone.  The post was originally on Randy’s blog at and describes the effort to create a safe social space that would make offensive content creation all but impossible.  He imagines a universal law of content creation: users will find a way.  The result is “BlockChat” – a hypothetical minimal social media system designed in the hope of removing all objectionable content from the system, which inevitably fails.  Randy Farmer’s story is about community moderation issues for early kid-centric virtual worlds but it applies to any collection of content and people. He read’s from his 2007 Habitat Chronicles blog post: The Untold History of Toontown’s SpeedChat (or BlockChat(tm) from Disney finally arrives).

Disney’s Hercworld, Toontown, and BlockChat(tm) – S01E08

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University of Maryland Computer Science Class (CMSC734) Student Projects Put NodeXL to Work: Finding Insights in Diverse Networks

December 11th, 2013 by Marc Smith · No Comments

Screen Shot 2013-12-11 at 6.11.17 PM


Graduate students in Computer Science at the University of Maryland in a class on information visualization produced a striking variety of NodeXL network analysis visualizations for their recent homework projects.  The class, taught by Prof. Ben Shneiderman (, covers commercial tools, such as Spotfire and Tableau, and research software, giving students a chance to learn a range of existing visualization techniques and tools.  The NodeXL homework project is done by individual students, midway in the semester, while 5-person student teams are also busy working on their major term projects, which create novel visualization tools for specialized applications.  To see all the projects, click:

(Don’t be deterred by security warnings, the class wiki is open for all to read, but only students can edit)!

Several of the 30 projects deal with Facebook, Twitter, email, Wikipedia, and YouTube social networks, with academic citation patterns and sports networks adding variety.  Entertainment, finance and medical analyses round out the collection, showing the huge range of potential NodeXL applications.  Students had only two weeks to find data, import it, clean it, and then create meaningful visualizations that enabled them to find interesting insights into connected structures.

Gregory Kramida’s analysis of stock symbol co-occurrences in financial articles

Gregory Kramida analyzed the connections among company names in the business press.  See:

The project shows the strong linkages between technology companies and consumer services, finance and public utilities.  The data set of more than 50,000  financial articles had more than 400,000 co-occurrences of stock ticker symbols.   He used the NodeXL grouping feature to organize the stocks into groups by industry and then showed results using the Group-in-a-Box layout feature.  This network is limited to companies that were mentioned together at least 50 times.


Ruofei Du’s analysis of co-authorship patterns

Ruofei Du probed the relationship among authors in 1033 scientific papers from the 1988 to 2013 User Interface Software & Technology (UIST) conference. See:

The co-author collaborations followed commonly seen patterns of professors and their students, but the relationships between academia and industry showed novel patterns.  After grouping authors by their organizations, it is apparent that Microsoft is well-represented at this conference through numerous collaborations with universities.


Joshua Brule’s analysis of actor co-performance connections from the television series Firefly 

Joshua Brule created an intriguing story of television and film actors and actresses that emerges from analysis of ten actors from the cancelled television series Firefly. See:

The actors had few collaborations before appearing on the program, but many afterwards.  The carefully constructed bipartite network shows how ten actors collaborated in 38 films, television shows, or videogames.



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December 2, 2013: Social Media Clarity Podcast S01E07 – Live Streaming Video Game Play with TL Taylor and Jeffrey Shih

December 2nd, 2013 by Marc Smith · No Comments


The 7th episode of the Social Media Clarity podcast is now out.
With big announcements from the game console companies, Live Streaming has been thrust into the mainstream. Join us as we discuss the phenomenon with a leading researcher and a full-time streamer.
We have two interviews this week: Author & Researcher T.L. Taylor and Live Streamer Jeffrey Shih aka Trumpsc on

T.L. Taylor

Live-streaming research
Raising the Stakes: E-Sports and the Professionalization of Computer Gaming
Play Between Worlds: Exploring Online Game Culture

Jeffrey Shih (Trump)

Hearthstone Arena with Trump – Welcome to Value Town!
Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft

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