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Social Network Analysis for Dummies

What’s that? You want us to tell you all about nodes, edges and SNA metrics? A veritable ‘Social Network Analysis for Dummies’? You got it! But before we take you on our little ‘intellectual’ journey, let’s get caffeinated and make ourselves comfortable. Yes, that’s an order! So put your feet up! (if you’re at work: colleagues make great footrests – you’re welcome) If at this point you’ve made yourself a fort of cushions, you’re my hero. Anyway, anyway, time to get down to business! Social Network Analysis for Dummies: Part 1 First of all, what is Social Network Analysis (SNA) all about? As with everything, there are many different definitions floating about but we’ve tried to keep it simple and clear for you. SNA is a quantitative and qualitative analysis of a social network. So you start with a social network, which is a structure made up of actors/entities (such as people, companies, whatever you want!) and their relationships. What happens to an actor is dictated by his position and the structure of his connections: this will determine which information or resources will (or will not) reach him and will therefore influence his behaviour or beliefs. These entities are called the nodes or vertices of a network. The relationships are what we call the ties or edges of a network. Matrices and graphs can be used to visualize this structure. A matrix sounds like a pretty scary thing, but not to worry! It’s actually quite a straightforward arrangement of our…

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