Using Visualization to Understand Social Networks

We’re all embedded in vast social networks of friends, family, co-workers and more. Nicholas Christakis uses network visualizations to show how your location in the network might impact your life in ways you don’t even know.

In his fine talk at TED 2010 about the complexity of social networks, Christakis explains the structure and nature of social networks. For one time we’re not talking about the online equivalent, but actual human relationships. To display the effects of interconnectivity and location within a social network, a set of data visualization is being used. Although the visualizations could be improved (e.g. in regard of color choice) they help highlighting patterns and making some of Christakis’ points easily understandable.

If you have 18 minutes to spare I recommend watching Nicholas Christakis: The hidden influence of social networks and share your thoughts about the quality of the visualizations in the comments.

Using Visualization to Understand Social Networks Nicholas Christakis explores how the large-scale, face-to-face social networks in which we are embedded affect our lives, and what we can do to take advantage of this fact

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