How To Map Social Networks

Internet users are realizing the value in learning how to map social networks.  Not unlike a family tree, it's a good idea to illustrate the branching social networks that expand via an original contact.

In 2000, IBM began establishing a system of mapping for keeping track of its employees and the specific skills each one had to offer.  In turn, connections between the various departments became a valuable knowledge base.  Interestingly, some of the people listed in the social network map were considered important simply because of whom they knew.

The study of how to map social networks is broad based.  Social network maps have been used as an important tool in studies of terrorism, and for tracking contagious diseases.  Many people use this method of data tracking from the 1960s as a model for social networking maps pertaining to the internet.

Because social contacts can expand at an incredibly fast rate, the best time to start social network mapping begins at the get-go, with the first connection.  Taking small steps is the best approach. Anyone who knows how to construct a flow chart would be well advised to use this method as a possible social network tracking base.  In some cases, the resulting network map may evolve to the extent that requires tracking on a database.

Depictions of each block of the flowchart can be color-coded.  Again, keeping the social networking map manageable is really important. Eight groups are quite enough to start with. Each group in the social networking map needs to start with the original contact.  Listings underneath every primary contact explain the connections of one individual to the next.

For example: say one contact originated from a work group.  From there, as the network map expands, notes on each name explain how this social network connection evolved. Did the next connection happen as the result of a social gathering, or a common interest such as a hobby?

Is the second person in this color-coded block a friend of the original contact?  It's important to identify how the first contact was established. New branches may develop by asking the question: what affiliations does this newly added, or secondary, contact have?

Making color-coded cards with a list of social contacts within the eight categories creates a base for a social networking map. Group these in a circular arrangement, or, going back to the tree metaphor, illustrate branches that explain how one group connects with another.

The trunk of the tree may represent a social networking site involving followers, or friends. When visiting this website, a new contact may be established through perusing the comment section.  If someone's comment sounds interesting, this person becomes part of the social networking group that expanded from that particular social networking site.

For higher expectations, an imagined three-dimensional approach may be how to map social networks.  Mapping social networks with this method simulates the construction of a geodesic dome. A series of connected equilateral triangles is the basis of this tracking system. The connectors between each triangle show various social networks under a specific category.  These connections form a hub, and the lines of each triangle point to a direction that, in turn, will demonstrate how to map social network groups.


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