The Social Network Map

This post continues our series on key SWOOP indicators. The ‘Social Network Map’ is prominently displayed on the Personal Tab, as a personal social network map. A second social network map representation is available at the Enterprise tab level, to identify how business units or offices, or the like, are connected via inter-group connections.

Can you believe that the first social network map like this one was created some 80 years ago?  It was hand drawn to document a girls’ friendship network in a New York school. Today we have more automated methods. The SWOOP network map is only available on the personal tab (and therefore secured to the owner).

The owner of the network is highlighted by the halo. The links are formed from interactions e.g. a post liked, a person mentioned etc.. The links are directional i.e. if you replied to a post I made, then there would be an arrow pointing to me from you. If I were to reply or like a post that you had made, then the link would have arrows at both ends and the colour changes to red, indicating a ‘two-way’ connection.

You may also see that the frames around the pictures are coloured by the business unit that they belong to. The social network map provides a visual representation of your network of connections. You can quickly see the people you are most closely connected to and who in turn they are connected to. You can see clusters of connections or cliques that might exist in your network. You can also quickly see how diverse your network is, by observing the different business units they come from, or how some connections may only have you as a connection into your network.

Business Imperative

It has been claimed that the social network is how work really gets done in organisations; and that hierarchies are really there for apportioning blame! Whether you believe this or not you only need to reflect on teams that you have been part of that have been highly productive and successful. Then there are others that you would rather forget, because of the in-fighting and lack of trust that had led to frustration and unproductiveness. There are many other SWOOP measures that focus on particular features of your map. For example, the Two-Way connections are a count of the proportion of red links from the map. The number of different departments your connections are from; and the density of the links on your network are reflected in your collaboration profile.

We have created hundreds of sociograms over the past decade or more, and they never fail to intrigue. The network map may reinforce a view of the people you work with mostly. But what about those you are connected with that are distant from others you work with? What can you see that surprises you? There are nearly always unanticipated insights from analysing a network map.

Perhaps you could make a point of brokering a connection between your disconnected colleagues? Being a connector can be the most productive networking activity you can undertake. As Seth Godin writes, why not make yourself that indispensable linchpin?



Other Blog Posts in This Series

Influential People – SWOOP Style

Why we Should Worry about Response Rates in Enterprise Social Systems

Bridging the Knowledge Sharing/Problem Solving Divide

How Healthy is your Enterprise Social Network?

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