visualizing your facebook network
Bernie Hogan, who I mentioned in an earlier post, has written a very cool application for Facebook that creates network matrices of your friends (you can analyze the networks in UCINET or GUESS). With these networks you can see how your friends are connected to one another via Facebook. It’s a fun application and doesn’t take long to use. The application would come in handy if you were teaching a social networks class. Almost all undergrads and most graduate students have Facebook accounts these days and so it wouldn’t be out of line to use this as an assignment.
Here’s my Facebook network. The names have been changed to initials so that you can’t readily identify who these people are without some personal knowledge of my network. Click on the image to enlarge and you might be able to find yourself. I have four main friendship clusters, two of which are completely isolated. Of my 141 friends, only 4 of them are isolated from the rest of my network. Interestingly, my friends from academia are grouped into two mostly distinct clusters. Granted, Facebook networks don’t exactly map onto real world relationships (I see gaps in this network that don’t exist outside of Facebook) but, in general, the clusters seem to indicate real patterns of interaction.