The Connected Action consulting group (https://www.connectedaction.net) applies social science methods in general and social network analysis (SNA) techniques in particular to enterprise and internet social media usage. SNA analysis of data from Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, message boards, blogs, wikis, friend networks, and shared file systems can reveal insights into topics, issues, brands, organizations and processes. Using network insights, brand, marketing, social media and community managers can gain actionable insights into the volumes of connected content created in social media repositories.
Dr. Marc A. Smith
Chief Social Scientist
Connected Action Consulting Group
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 (http://nodexl.codeplex.com/) 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 (http://www.connectedaction.net) 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.
Photo stream: http://www.flickr.com/photos/marc_smith/
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: http://alumni.media.mit.edu/~fviegas/whitney/index.htm
Places and Space exhibit, 2006: http://www.scimaps.org/maps/map/treemap_view_of_2004_57/
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. http://www.routledgesociology.com/books/E-Research-isbn9780415990288
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.
Network Overview Discovery and Exploration for Excel 2007/2010/2013
NodeXL provides support for social network analysis in the context of a spreadsheet.
NodeXL is a project from the Social Media Research Foundation and is a collaboration among:
- Connected Action Consulting Group
- Microsoft Research
- University of Maryland
- Cornell University
- Stanford University
- Oxford Internet Institute
NodeXL is the free and open add-in for Excel that supports network overview, discovery and exploration. The code and application can be found at http://nodexl.codeplex.coml.
NodeXL requires Office 2007, 2010 or 2013. Other versions of Excel (like 2008 on Mac, or the older 2003) do not work with NodeXL (sorry!). Mac users may want to run NodeXL in a virtual machine locally or in the cloud.
A video tutorial for NodeXL can be found at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VwVvQhhLUqc
A book Analyzing Social Media Networks with NodeXL: Insights from a connected world is available from Morgan-Kaufmann:
Analyzing Social Media Networks with NodeXL: Insights from a Connected World
Supporting documentation can be found at https://nodexl.codeplex.com/documentation.
Data sets and other teaching materials are available at https://nodexl.codeplex.com/wikipage?title=NodeXL%20Teaching%20Resources
Information about NodeXL can often be found on the Connected Action blog (http://www.connectedaction.net).
A recent slide deck describing NodeXL can be found at: http://slideshare.net/Marc_A_Smith/2013-nodexl-social-media-network-analysis
NodeXL allows for the import of network data in the form of edge lists, matricies, graphML, UCINet, and Pajek files along with CSV and other workbooks.
NodeXL allows non-programmers to quickly generate useful network statistics and metrics and create visualizations of network graphs. Filtering and display attributes can be used to highlight important structures in the network.
NodeXL supports the exploration of social media with import features that pull data from personal email indexes on the desktop, Twitter, flickr, YouTube, Facebook,WWW hyperlinks, and Wikis.
Recent features added to NodeXL include faster metrics calculation, larger data sets, new layouts, scales, axes, and legends.
NodeXL has been downloaded more than 245,000 times and is becoming the easiest path to getting insights from network data.
Social Media Research Related Publications
Mapping Twitter Topic Networks: From Polarized Crowds to Community Clusters
Marc Smith, Lee Rainie, Ben Shneiderman, and Itai Himelboim
Pew Research Internet Project, February 20, 2014
Abstract: People connect to form groups on Twitter for a variety of purposes. The networks they create have identifiable contours that are shaped by the topic being discussed, the information and influencers driving the conversation, and the social network structures of the participants. A special analysis by the Pew Research Center and the Social Media Research Foundation of thousands of Twitter conversations finds there are six distinct patterns to the conversational and social structures that take place on Twitter: divided, unified, fragmented, clustered, and inward and outward hub and spoke structures. These are created as individuals choose whom to reply to or mention in their Twitter messages and the structures tell a story about the nature of the conversation.
Group-in-a-box Layout for Multi-faceted Analysis of Communities
Eduarda Mendes Rodrigues, Natasa Milic-Frayling, Marc Smith, Ben Shneiderman, Derek Hansen
IEEE Third International Conference on Social Computing, October 9-11, 2011.
Abstract: Communities in social networks emerge from interactions among individuals and can be analyzed through a combination of clustering and graph layout algorithms. These approaches result in 2D or 3D visualizations of clustered graphs, with groups of vertices representing individuals that form a community. However, in many instances the vertices have attributes that divide individuals into distinct categories such as gender, profession, geographic location, and similar. It is often important to investigate what categories of individuals comprise each community and vice-versa, how the community structures associate the individuals from the same category. Currently, there are no effective methods for analyzing both the community structure and the category-based partitions of social graphs. We propose Group-In-a-Box (GIB), a meta-layout for clustered graphs that enables multi-faceted analysis of networks. It uses the treemap space filling technique to display each graph cluster or category group within its own box, sized according to the number of vertices therein. GIB optimizes visualization of the network sub-graphs, providing a semantic substrate for category-based and cluster-based partitions of social graphs. We illustrate the application of GIB to multi-faceted analysis of real social networks and discuss desirable properties of GIB using synthetic datasets.
EventGraphs: charting collections of conference connections
Hansen, D., Smith, M., Shneiderman, B.
Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences. Forty-Forth Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS). January 4-7, 2011. Kauai, Hawaii.
Abstract: EventGraphs are social media network diagrams constructed from content selected by its association with time-bounded events, such as conferences. Many conferences now communicate a common “hashtag” or keyword to identify messages related to the event. EventGraphs help make sense of the collections of connections that form when people follow, reply or mention one another and a keyword. This paper defines EventGraphs, characterizes different types, and shows how the social media network analysis add-in NodeXL supports their creation and analysis. The paper also identifies the structural and conversational patterns to look for and highlight in EventGraphs and provides design ideas for their improvement.
Visualizing the Signatures of Social Roles in Online Discussion Groups
Welser, Howard T., Eric Gleave, Danyel Fisher, and Marc Smith.
Journal of Social Structure, Vol 8. 2007.
Abstract: Social roles in online discussion forums can be described by patterned characteristics of communication between network members which we conceive of as ‘structural signatures.’ This paper uses visualization methods to reveal these structural signatures and regression analysis to confirm the relationship between these signatures and their associated roles in Usenet newsgroups. Our analysis focuses on distinguishing the signatures of one role from others, the role of “answer people.” Answer people are individuals whose dominant behavior is to respond to questions posed by other users. We found that answer people predominantly contribute one or a few messages to discussions initiated by others, are disproportionately tied to relative isolates, have few intense ties and have few triangles in their local networks. OLS regression shows that these signatures are strongly correlated with role behavior and, in combination, provide a strongly predictive model for identifying role behavior (R2=.72). To conclude, we consider strategies for further improving the identification of role behavior in online discussion settings and consider how the development of a taxonomy of author types could be extended to a taxonomy of newsgroups in particular and discussion systems in general.
Discussion catalysts in online political discussions: Content importers and conversation starters
Himelboim, Itai, Eric Gleave, and Marc Smith. 2009
Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, Vol. 14 (JCMC)
Abstract: This study addresses 3 research questions in the context of online political discussions: What is the distribution of successful topic starting practices, what characterizes the content of large thread-starting messages, and what is the source of that content? A 6-month analysis of almost 40,000 authors in 20 political Usenet newsgroups identiﬁed authors who received a disproportionate number of replies. We labeled these authors ‘‘discussion catalysts.’’ Content analysis revealed that 95 percent of discussion catalysts’ messages contained content imported from elsewhere on the web, about 2/3 from traditional news organizations. We conclude that the ﬂow of information from the content creators to the readers and writers continues to be mediated by a few individuals who act as ﬁlters and ampliﬁers.
Analyzing (Social Media) Networks with NodeXL
Smith, M., Shneiderman, B., Milic-Frayling, N., Rodrigues, E.M., Barash, V., Dunne, C., Capone, T., Perer, A. & Gleave, E. (2009)
C&T ’09: Proceedings of the Fourth International Conference on Communities and Technologies. Springer.
Abstract: In this paper we present NodeXL, an extensible toolkit for network data analysis and visualization, implemented as an add-in to the Microsoft Excel 2007 spreadsheet software. We demonstrate NodeXL features through analysis of a data sample drawn from an enterprise intranet social network, discussion, and wiki. Through a sequence of steps we show how NodeXL leverages and extends the broadly used spreadsheet paradigm to support common operations in network analysis. This ranges from data import to computation of network statistics and refinement of network visualization through a selection of ready-to-use sorting, filtering, and clustering functions.
Whither the experts: Social affordances and the cultivation of experts in community Q&A systems
SIN ’09: Proc. international symposium on Social Intelligence and Networking. IEEE Computer Society Press.
Howard Welser, Eric Gleave, Marc Smith, Vladimir Barash, Jessica Meckes.
Abstract: Community based Question and Answer systems have been promoted as web 2.0 solutions to the problem of finding expert knowledge. This promise depends on systems’ capacity to attract and sustain experts capable of offering high quality, factual answers. Content analysis of dedicated contributors’ messages in the Live QnA system found: (1) few contributors who focused on providing technical answers (2) a preponderance of attention paid to opinion and discussion, especially in non-technical threads. This paucity of experts raises an important general question: how do the social affordances of a site alter the ecology of roles found there? Using insights from recent research in online community, we generate a series of expectations about how social affordances are likely to alter the role ecology of online systems.
First steps to NetViz Nirvana: evaluating social network analysis with NodeXL
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)
Abstract: Social Network Analysis (SNA) has evolved as a popular, standard method for modeling meaningful, often hidden structural relationships in communities. Existing SNA tools often involve extensive pre-processing or intensive programming skills that can challenge practitioners and students alike. NodeXL, an open-source template for Microsoft Excel, integrates a library of common network metrics and graph layout algorithms within the familiar spreadsheet format, offering a potentially low-barrier to-entry framework for teaching and learning SNA. We present the preliminary findings of 2 user studies of 21 graduate students who engaged in SNA using NodeXL. The majority of students, while information professionals, had little technical background or experience with SNA techniques. Six of the participants had more technical backgrounds and were chosen specifically for their experience with graph drawing and information visualization. Our primary objectives were (1) to evaluate NodeXL as an SNA tool for a broad base of users and (2) to explore methods for teaching SNA. Our complementary dual case-study format demonstrates the usability of NodeXL for a diverse set of users, and significantly, the power of a tightly integrated metrics/visualization tool to spark insight and facilitate sensemaking for students of SNA.
Do You Know the Way to SNA?: A Process Model for Analyzing and Visualizing Social Media Data 
Hansen, D., Rotman, D., Bonsignore, E., Milic-Frayling, N., Rodrigues, E., Smith, M., Shneiderman, B. (July 2009)
University of Maryland Tech Report: HCIL-2009-17
Abstract: Voluminous online activity data from users of social media can shed light on individual behavior, social relationships, and community efficacy. However, tools and processes to analyze this data are just beginning to evolve. We studied 15 graduate students who were taught to use NodeXL to analyze social media data sets. Based on these observations, we present a process model of social network analysis (SNA) and visualization, then use it to identify stages where intervention from peers, experts, and computational aids are most useful. We offer implications for designers of SNA tools, educators, and community & organizational analysts.
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- NodeXL talk at the University of Tennessee Business Analytics Forum. April 20, 2015
- Hospitality Technology’s Hotel Technology Forum in Puerto Rico. April 22, 2015
- Innovation Enterprise’s Data Visualization Summit in San Jose. April 28, 2015
- Innovation Enterprise’s Social Media & Web Analytics Innovation Summit in San Francisco. April 29, 2015
- LSU: NodeXL social media networks talk at the Telling Stories and Using Visuals for Coastal Environmental Communication workshop. May 1st, 2015
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