muckety and the network boundaries problem
Muckety, if you haven’t seen it, is essentially what would happen if Mark Mizruchi and Don Palmer had a love child, which then became an expert in java animation. It takes board interlocks to new heights with data on everything from who was suspected in Vince Foster’s suicide to the Board of Directors of AIG. It packages it all up into very slick looking network visualizations. And all of it’s for free.
Unfortunately, the catnip doesn’t entirely extend to network theorists. The problem has to do with the “boundaries of the network“. The value of seeing a network is in finding out who is not connected and for that, you need a good sense of the boundaries of the network. The problem with the Muckety is that it forces you to build the network from a single ego. You can expand any of ego’s connections. But you essentially have to chose between expanding the names you recognize (problem: selection bias) or else expand everything and see what pops up. Problem: you are quickly overwhelmed. The boundary expands infinitely.
Tons of fun, not especially useful. Maybe I’m too much of a network purist. But would it be so hard to build in the ability to input a list of organizations or people and then have Muckety draw the network? The site offers a few ways of “filtering” the data which is meant to have the same effect, but it’s clunky.