Updated: 6/30/2005; 11:34:48 PM.


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  Wednesday, January 26, 2005

  Folksonomies: bits of research and visual browsing

As I still have work to do I'm not going to add relevant links for the on-going discussions on folksonomies, related tools and social implications, but just link to a few things.

Bits of research:

Visualising del.icio.us:

Regarding the last one:

  • Wonder how many people actually look at their del.icio.us subscriptions (I don't)
  • Thought that it would be fun visualising social networks based on similar linking patterns, but discovered that that particular feature is not in del.icio.us anymore. Given how often I used it as an argument it's pretty stupid not having screenshots.


  Visual settlements: on weblog visualisations

Anjo Anjewierden (Blog posts 2004)While I was travelling, Anjo did a great job of working out his visual settlement idea into an implementation (and I'm also a lucky one who can actually play with the software and not only enjoy images in his weblog :)

First, Anjo's explanations (the image right is a representation of Anjo's weblog):

Roughly the method to draw the pictures is as follows:

  • Size of a blob is determined by the number of words in the post. Bigger blob, more words (in fact: every pixel represents one word).
  • Colour of the blob is determined by whether there are links to others (grey), links from others (green) or no links (red). All with respect to a community of KM bloggers determined by Lilia and Stephanie
  • Position of the blog is determined by the chronological order (oldest posts are in the center) and by self-linking (if a post self links back to an own post, it will appear close to the original post).

My first questions are about things Anjo didn't clarify:

  • is there any difference between squares and circles? circles and ovals?
  • what color is the blob if post behind it has both, links to others and links from others?

Lilia Efimova (Blog posts 2004) Alex Halavais (Blog posts 2004) These are two other visualisations, of my own weblog and one of Alex Halavais.

My weblog is more colored than the one of Alex. Does it mean that Alex doesn't link or not linked back? That he is not well connected with the community? Or (which I guess is the reason) that the community was mapped as a snowballing starting from my weblog, so my "linking partners" are there, but not those of Alex. Of course, we are working on mapping the community properly, but still would be nice to have some workaround...

You can also see that Alex' blog shows more "rays from the center" structure than mine - guess as a result of me heavily linking to older posts, so posts are grouped braking straight lines (ray structure is even more visible on visualisation of Robert Scoble's blog). But what is behind those rays starting from the center? Are posts randomly assigned to a line or there is a logic behind it?

I'm still thinking of what else and how I'd like to see visualised. You are welcome to share your ideas.

And, if you need more inspiration, you may want to check BlogScapes by Brian Dennisvarious visualisations of five years writings by Tom Coatesweb-log continuum sparklines or knowledge flow sparklines...

I'm back to my usual "bad" practice: blogging when I have to work on a paper :)

This post also appears on channel weblog research

  Relations <-> networks <-> communities ???

That was too fast thinking that I could get over jetlag in 24 hours. I was happy yesterday feeling nice for the whole day until it got me at night – I couldn't sleep. This, as well as WiFi that didn't work got me into reading What Binds Us When With Whom? Content and Structure in Social Network Analysis by Frans Stokman, downloaded just a few hours before that following a hint from Bill Ives

The paper gives me mixed feelings. From one side I immediately get into the feeling that Frans has some answers for a couple of community/network questions that has been fighting with:

  • What is the difference between a network (individuals with their interconnections) and a community (something with a sense of a "whole – norms, practices")? Why/when/how a network turns into a community?
  • What is the difference between someone's relation to a community as a whole and relations with it's individual members? How those influence each other?

From another side, I'm feeling helpless – the paper goes in the theories and methods I don't know. Directions for the answers I want are there, but I can't get them out (I guess unless I change my PhD research topic and work for a few years on social network analysis :) I wish I'd have someone near by to translate the complexities into a language I can understand…

Anyway, the paper gives some leads. And Frans Stokman is at the University of Groningen, which is just a few hours away, so I can try to contact him to see where it goes.

And a quote:

In network evolution, two processes take place simultaneously. On the one hand, social actors shape the network by initiating, constructing, maintaining, and breaking up relationships. On the other hand, attributes (behaviour, opinions, attitudes) of social actors are partly shaped by their relationships. (p.24)

Hope jetlag gods will let me sleep now. To be posted in the morning :)

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