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Social Network Analysis: An introduction

I am a big fan of Barry Wellman. His pioneering work in networks has a history that extends well beyond current hype in social networks. In my work with connectivism, I’ve found Wellman’s work insightful, relevant, and more informed than the often shallow network conversations now occurring. I interview him a few years ago and urged him to start a blog. He said his research required long lead times and data analysis…and sharing in “transition data” could be misleading. While I would still like to see him blog, he is on Twitter.

With Alexandra Marin, he has published a paper on Social Network Analysis: An introduction (.pdf). It’s a great introduction to many network concepts – you’ll be hard pressed to find a more concise and readable paper on the subject (Stephen Downes will likely find resonance with the discussion on “networks, not groups”).

With network interests now springing eternal, it’s important to turn attention to the “now what?” I addressed this partly (ok, I whined) during the International Enterprise 2.0 conference: understanding structure is a foundational concept. The next, and possibly more challenging and value-laden, step is to consider how we use information and social networks to shape messages and influence learning and institutional design. Understanding how information flows is like understanding how physical products move through a supply chain. Altering the chain is the next important area of focus…

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  1. Social Network Analysis - a way of looking at a problem on Monday, June 15, 2009 at 6:27 am

    [...] Social Network Analysis: An Introduction | elearnspace | George Siemens | 12 June 2009 [...]