Is That a Broken Death Star or Is Your Social Graph Happy to See Me?

The image above, which looks like a broken Death Star, is actually a visual representation of my Social Graph (at least on Facebook).

Rather than explain what a Social Graph is, I’ll just tell you this. First, there’s a new kind of geek in the world now. I’ll call them the Social Geeks™. These are the people who are dubbed “social media gurus“. Second, the Social Geeks® have come up with a fancy sounding term (so they/we can charge more per hour) called a “Social Graph”. You know it as your “friends”.

Now, if I can stop using quotations for a minute, the real point of the Social Graph isn’t for the generic person who uses the internet. It’s an analytical tool so that those Social Geeks∞ can sell their souls to the devil (a.k.a. marketing departments), telling them how to get in touch with your friends so that you can be sold that 4th burrito you really shouldn’t have eaten at lunch (and then the 24 hour fitness membership you’ll use for 2 weeks).

Ok, it’s not all bad. Plenty of academics use Social Graphs to determine behavior, affinity, and other academic stuff. And, as we all know, 99% of what academics study don’t cross over into the business world where it becomes applicable to the generic public.

All that to say….

Pretty cool picture huh?

Nate Ritter lives in the Pacific Northwest (U.S.), popularized the #hashtag and creates web applications for a living. He also does miles and point hacking to enable cheap travel for his family. More here →

6 Comments on "Is That a Broken Death Star or Is Your Social Graph Happy to See Me?"

  1. Piero says:

    Nate,

    there are a number of posts on the web of people concerned with the idea there is a so called “Tech Elite” made up by VCs, Tech Analysts and Entrepreneurs that’s creating an artificial sense of urgency toward the web 2.0 ecosystem through a very specialized jargon: could we say that the social graph is one of those geek words?

    http://vanelsas.wordpress.com/2008/04/29/the-tech-elite-creates-its-own-web20-bubble/

  2. Carrie says:

    So which dot are you? I must say it’s a pretty cool picture!

  3. nate says:

    Carrie, actually, I don’t think I’m one of the dots. These are all the people connected to me directly, but it shows how each of them is connected. Putting me on that map would be redundant. It’s just assumed that I’m connected to everyone there.

    Everyone’s social graph is different, so it’s kinda cool to see everyone’s different ones.

    I can tell you that the brighter and thicker lines are coming from people who are extremely well connected, like Jeremiah Owyang and the like. In fact Jeremiah is the brightest one on the top right.

    Piero, Yes, I would say “social graph” is definitely one of those geek words you mentioned.

  4. Giovanni says:

    Social networks have been studied since the 60’s, think Milgram’s experiment. The nice thing from the academic point of you is that now relationships become explicit, so researchers have data they can study. Twitter is a wonderful example of directed graph and can be used as sample to study networks.
    Here’s a good start if you want to know more: http://arxiv.org/pdf/cond-mat/0303516

  5. Nice post, nice concepts Nate.
    So there was something that made me intrigued:
    Why, in 2.0 times you put a term Social Geeks as trademark?
    You registered that term? You don’t believe that knowledge belong to humanity?

  6. nate says:

    Joao, thanks for the comment. Most of this article was meant as a joke, so the trademark and registration was also in jest. I did not register or trademark the term, so if you’d like to, feel free. ;)

    Giovani, although I am not familiar with Migram’s experiment, I see what you are saying. Thanks for the link.

 
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