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.


Written by brayden king

February 25, 2009 at 3:44 pm

18 Responses

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  1. OK, OK —- this looks like too much fun, I need to reactivate my facebook account.



    February 25, 2009 at 3:51 pm

  2. Great application ! I should “friend” more people on facebook to get a meaningfull graph.



    February 25, 2009 at 4:01 pm

  3. This is very cool. I love it (although I seldom follow up on this) when I get one of those “People You May Know” suggestions that has links to people who I know from completely different networks and geographic locations (e.g. high school and grad school). One such connection was how I discovered that a colleague here and I are both from outside Seattle and graduated high school within a year of one another.



    February 25, 2009 at 5:34 pm

  4. Facebook also has a “Friend Wheel” application, which is a little simpler, but does basically the same thing in a circular format. I’m finding that my network started out as several distinct clusters, but now there are starting to be more connections between the clusters.



    February 25, 2009 at 6:30 pm

  5. […] procrastination, ucinet, visualization | I found out about about the ability to do this from orgtheory. If you have UCINET, you should try this […]


  6. […] a comment » Following up on Bradyen’s post, here’s my FB network, minus a few […]


  7. I think this looks very interesting, but how is the network every not totally connected if it’s all based on the ego’s network. At the very least, shouldn’t everybody be connected to the ego? Very cool and I agree this would be a fun assignment for an undergrad/grad networks class.



    February 26, 2009 at 5:36 pm

  8. Steve, Of course, ego connects all the groups. The data provided by Facebook assumes you’re there, and I suppose if you wanted you could add yourself to the matrix, but what’s the point? I kind of like the way the figure looks now because it really does help you see where the structural holes in your network are.



    February 26, 2009 at 5:40 pm

  9. I tried this, but with 4963 connections among my 659 friends, it came out like one big mess that’s not worth posting. Perhaps if I had time I could play with it, but nothing obvious jumped out at me.

    It would only be a bigger mess if I responded to the 90+ pending friend requests in the queue not to mention friending current students (something I just don’t do). I’m relatively strict about only linking up with people I actually know although a few have slipped by. I’m constantly debating whether I should unfriend them, but that seems a bit harsh – probably should’ve done it during the Burger King Whopper Sacrifice promotion, but since I don’t like the Whopper, I guess it wasn’t a sufficiently big incentive to bother. Oh, the dilemmas!



    February 26, 2009 at 6:47 pm

  10. oh woe is Eszter… :-P

    still test-driving the GUESS software myself, but shouldn’t there be a way to only include nodes that share more than edges within the graph? Could that be a way to solve your problem, Eszter?



    February 27, 2009 at 4:04 am

  11. brayden – i am intrigued by the large totally unconnected cluster you have which i am not a part of, though i bet someone in that other group is saying the same thing about my cluster.

    do you fight crime at night?



    February 27, 2009 at 5:20 am

  12. Shhh, Sekou. Gotham needs it hero.



    February 27, 2009 at 2:19 pm

  13. How can I visualize it? I only get a long list of names. Thanks.



    March 1, 2009 at 3:21 pm

  14. Network analysis of friendship connections is interesting – if I were a researcher at facebook, I would want look at the data from the block lists. How often do you get a list of people who are connected to you, but you have actively chosen to avoid a relationship?



    March 5, 2009 at 5:19 pm

  15. […] into facebook, friends and all.  (Worlds are colliding.)  Brayden talked about tools for visualizing one’s facebook network, so I decided to have my MBA org theory students map their facebook networks and to bring them to […]


  16. […] procrastination, ucinet, visualization | I found out about about the ability to do this from orgtheory. If you have UCINET, you should try this […]


  17. The application doesn’t work anymore, do you have another one that does the same?



    May 15, 2010 at 4:48 am

  18. Hi,

    There’s also Netvizz which generates GDF files for GUESS and Gephi:



    Sebastien Heymann

    May 27, 2010 at 8:15 am

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