Thursday, January 24, 2013

Understanding Your Social Graph

What is a Social Graph? 

So you are on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Linkedin, Tumblr, and even the relaunch of Myspace. That’s great, but what is your actual digital footprint, and what is this activity doing for you? If you have spent any time in the last few months in the social media world, you have undoubtedly heard of the term social graph. Coined by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg [1] in 2007, the social graph refers to an individual's online connectivity and relationships; it's who you are connected to and how you interact with them. While this might sound like techno-babble, more and more online services are starting to look to the social graph as the next evolution in customizing your online experience [2]. So this begs the question; how do I know what my social graph looks like?

With this question in mind, the following are some simple and integrative tools that provide analytics to help you better understand and manage your social graph.


Facebook Social Graph 


Facebook announced their Social Graph Search on January 15, 2013 [3]. Social Graph Search allows you to comb through your friends social profiles and search terms, much like you can do with Google [4]. With this tool Facebook it challenging companies such as Google, Yelp, Linkedin, and other similar networking and search tools to control how and where users get their information.

Klout


Do you know who you influence online, or who influences you? Klout is a great tool to understand how you interact with people online [5]. One of the most useful features of Klout is the topic tracking. This tool allows you to know around what topics you are most influential about. For example, suppose you love to fly fish, and post photos and videos of fish on Facebook, tweet about fly fishing, and are connected to some guides on Linkedin. Klout will track your influence and reach on that topic, and report the strength of your expertness on fly fishing. 

About.me


About.me allows you to create a simple personal online landing page [6]. This can be useful in creating a central online place where you can direct people to your various online haunts, as well as showcase your interests and skills. The power behind About.me is their statistics dashboard that tracks when, where, and how individuals click to your profile (via Facebook, Flickr, Tumblr, Linkedin, Twitter, etc). This becomes useful when determining which of your social networks is driving the most interest in your profile. 

Linked.in Labs


So you have 683 connections on Linkedin, but do you know what your network looks like and the strength of each of your various network segments? The new Linkedin Labs InMaps [7] visualizes your network, and how your various network segments connect and interact. Within the field of network theory you are typically categorizes as a star, bridge, catalyst, or isolate node; Linkedin InMaps allows you to better understand what type of network node you are. Furthermore, by visualizing your network it shows your strengths and areas for improvement in your networking activities. 


References
[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_graph
[2] http://www.wired.com/business/2012/03/opinion-johnson-social-graph/
[3] http://www.cnbc.com/id/100380841/page/2
[4] http://www.facebook.com/graphsearch
[5] http://www.klout.com
[6] http://www.about.me
[7] http://inmaps.linkedinlabs.com/