Several firms offer social network analysis and mapping tools. Social network theory is important as a dominant logic of the new economy. Success is often nurtured through relationships both online and in real life.

Also, society’s access to data radically expanded in the post-Internet age. Digital platforms offer a robust data set for analysis.

Research notes the importance of social networks to innovation and as facilitators of change. A famous paper explores the impact of Strong and Weak Ties. In environments that require change or innovation, strong ties can act as inhibitors of change as too much power resides in a few participants’ hands or participants are too scared to challenge the status quo.

Weak ties, however, better facilitate the exchange of new information among participants. Good ideas can more easily rise to the top.

Social Network Analysis

Social network mapping and analysis can highlight how information flows across social networks and what nodes in those networks have power. If enough information is known about the network, social network analysis can be used to predict network behavior, assess decision-making capability, and provide a host of other detail.

For example, social network analysis can measure information such as how much distance is between nodes, what nodes are most central or peripheral, and who are the gatekeepers to information.

Digital Information Networks

A consulting firm called Ecosystematic recently published research on the flow of online media. The visualization shows the structure of online ecosystems of information such as Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Wired, Harvard Business Review, and other major media sources.

Interestingly, the visuals show similar information flows between Twitter and Youtube. Facebook is much smaller in reach, but more densely connected at the core of its information ecosystem.

The visuals are worth a view.