Visualizing Connections

There is an interesting tool for Twitter that visualizes connections between twitter users.    It is called Mention Map and builds a visual view of where an account is mentioned in the twitter universe.    There is another tool that grades how influential you are in the twitter universe and it is called coincidentally Twitter Grader.  On Twitter Grader I got a grade of 94 and who knows what that means.   In both cases the tools help you visualize your connections and influence to those around you.

While Twitter and these tools are  just a proxy for influence and connections, it is important for us in enterprises to try to better understand influence and connections.  This might include those people in the organization who are the ‘goto’ people on project after project and those people who seem to keep teams focused and calm in the midst of the storm.   How about that person at work who is a good counselor and is well respected by many?   Relationships between companies/organizations are also important as those people who can connect with your customers and suppliers in a closer fashion are very valuable to the company.

The Connectors in Gladwell’s book Tipping Point:  How Little Things Can Make A Big Difference talk about this a lot and make some great points.  There are also great points in much of the Collaboration dialog on the internet and in books.   It is also talked about in the books like Six Degrees: The Science of a Connected Age and Linked: How Everything is Connected to Everything Else and What It Means both of which a read several years ago.   I especially liked the Linked book.

I think we are moving in the direction of much better understanding of this in the workplace in the coming years and there is likely to be some interesting things developed by forward thinking companies.

3 thoughts on “Visualizing Connections”

  1. Hi Mark

    Leaving you this comment because:
    1) I use to work with Seagate..gosh 20 yrs ago 😉
    2) I’m the co-founder of a “forward thinking company” that’s having fun with those very notion of influence and connections. The twist we put to it is that influence and connections are much more meaningful when you put them in the context of a community (i.e: wine, computer security, IT strategist and so on). Social media has enabled like minded people to collaborate across cultural, business, geographical boundaries and they form virtual communities that are the new media.


  2. Mark,

    This is an interesting topic. Microsoft Research, Intel and IBM are doing a lot of good work in this area, especially in identifying gaps and clusters in connections. Last year I attended a presentation at Intel that talked about how memes travel and mutate in a social network, and how information is copied from one person to another. One interesting project that came out of Microsoft Research is NodeXL. It is an Excel Template for visualizing network graphs. They are also working on a book titled, “Insights from a Connected World”.

    It will be interesting to see how this area of connection visualization evolves.

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