Friday, February 15, 2008

Some Snipets of Networking Books

For any who are interested in reading something to ground them in social networking, the following are from book reviews by Graham Durant-Law:

"Exploratory Social Network Analysis with Pajek by Wouter de Nooy, Andrej Mrvar, and Vladimir Batagelj. Pajek means spider in Slovenian. Pajek is also a software program for the analysis and visualisation of very large networks; networks with thousands if not millions of vertices. It is a program I use occasionally, however I prefer UCINET and NetMiner 3, because I find these programs to be easier to use."

"Net Work: A Practical Guide to Creating and Sustaining Networks at Work and in the World
by Patti Anklam, who is a recognized practitioner in network analysis circles. The central theme is we work through informal and formal networks, which may be tangible or intangible, but all have value. Her primary assumption is that all networks can be mapped. These maps serve to describe the network and provide a diagnosis of the health of the mapped entity, albeit the map is a snapshot in time. Patti’s premise is if the network can be mapped and described then the network can be managed and weaved – a premise I largely agree with, and which is an underlying assumption in my research."

"Weak Links: Stabilizers of Complex Systems from Proteins to Social Networks
by Peter Csermely, who is a Professor of Biochemistry at the Semmelweis University of Budapest. The central theme is weak links are the determinants of system stability and diversity. Csermely defines a link “as 'weak', when its addition or removal does not change the mean value of a target measure at a statistically discernible way."

"Structural Holes: the Social Structure of Competition
by Ronald Burt. This is a seminal publication and a must read for anyone interested in network theory. The book has an academic flavor but is well written, with many easy to understand examples. Burt’s central thesis is that structural holes in business networks are very important. A structural hole is a gap between two individuals. When the two are connected through a third individual important advantages accrue for the third individual, who may employ a tertius strategy."

(date: 2/15/8, source:

Monday, February 11, 2008

Network Research and Innovation

Networks featuring diverse, overlapping, frequent interactions are more responsive to change and more innovative than their more specialized, hierarchically organized counterparts.

Urban spaces put people with diverse knowledge, values, and interests in positions where they can form such networks.

Ed Morrison has compared Evansville, Indiana to Lafayette, Louisiana, showing how the city to our north is much less "segregated" that the city to the north. While racism and discrimination can play a part in keeping a network from "integrating," so can spaces and experiences we choose to build and share.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Open Network, "Second Wave," Styles of Organization

(To repeat what I'd posted on the Influence blog:)

Ed Morrison's Open Network approach says, these days, groups and organizations benefit by consciously building open networks.

Each group has to ask itself:
1 - where are we, together, as a whole?
2 - where could we go together?
3 - where should we go right now to start the journey?
e.g., what should we try to do by next week? by next year? etc.