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The History of Social Network Analysis

While I did come across a lot of technical writing about social network analysis to this date, I wasn’t lucky enough to stumble upon the works of Linton C. Freeman and Steve Borgatti until fairly recently. Professor Freeman has written a complete book on the Development of Social Network Analysis and Professor Borgatti and his colleagues have published a paper that serves as an overview to Network Analysis in the Social Sciences. Both are worth a read and I thought I’d share the links with you. Enjoy!

So, you’re doing research on social media. Sounds interesting . . .

. . . but what do you actually do?

This is a question that I hear very frequently. By writing this blog, I hope I can shed some light on the life and the daily work of a PhD student.

Right now I am in the process of narrowing down my research focus. Admittedly, there are a lot of people writing and talking about social media. Many of them call themselves experts 😉 Apart from the academic literature, I have looked at a number of presentations on slideshare and read even more blog posts. I will share the most interesting bits with you over the coming months. What intrigues me most is to see what kind of people write about the subject and what professional background they have. Legal professionals, for example, tend to view strengths and weaknesses of social media tools differently from people in the communications sectors.

These are the areas surrounding social media that I find particularly interesting:

  1. History/Evolution
  2. Knowledge Management, Collaboration and Learning
  3. Human Resources
  4. Psychology
  5. The Future of Work
  6. Legal Issues
  7. Social Network Analysis
  8. Social Capital
  9. PR/Marketing
  10. Analytics/Metrics
  11. Science

Over the next few days, I will introduce each of these themes separately and explain why I think they are relevant. I will also provide a few references for existing literature and mention the people, events and institutions I have come across so far. Is there an area that you think I have missed? Where do you believe social media has the greatest impact?