So, I’m doing another Coursera course, this one on Social Network Analysis. So far, so good, we’ve learnt a bit of the terminology (nodes and edges), and of the software, Gephi. The first assignment was to analyse our own social networks, based on Facebook, which was fun, but also frustrating.
This is my network of Facebook friends, based on my personal account. I have a lot of random people, it seems, or barely connected groups of two or three. The big glob (technically known as the “giant component”) in the middle is my online friends, then the arc consists of clumps (strongly connected components) of Rhodes University on the bottom left, moving into South African journalists and friends generally, then my UCLan friends, the next cluster are Canadian friends, high school, then university, Dubai is next, and the last clump is, oddly, people from Tshwane University in Pretoria, none of whom seem to have any connection with Rhodes University and my Joburg network. It’s most odd.
Sprinkled throughout are individuals I have picked up along the way.
It’s an interesting exercise, looking at your network this way, and seeing how you connect to people. In the software, you can move things around, and change sizes and colours, as well as seeing the names of the people each circle (node) represents.
The course is free, online, and lasts nine weeks. You can get a certificate if you do all the work, or you could just watch the videos and play with the software.