Exploring Your Social Constellation

I've seen some social graph applications on Facebook before, but the one that fascinates me the most is Nexus, which maps your entire graph.

Below I've shown an annotated version of mine; the interactive one's up here

It's fascinating to see how the constellation shapes up.

Here's a brief guide to mine:

  1. The heart of my constellation is my connections through work. In the social media space, so many people are so intimately interconnected, forming that dense web.
  2. These are mostly my 360i colleagues, along with some partners and clients, all more densely interconnected with each other than with my other contacts, though many have some ties to the middle.
  3. Here are my iCrossing colleagues, where I worked before 360i. Some of them also pop up in the middle too.
  4. The lower right shows my college friends almost exclusively.
  5. The lower left is my more distant past – elementary and high school. There are very few people in this group I've spoken with in the past five years, and many here I barely knew at all when I went to school with them.

My social constellation annotated - v2

There are two lines of thought that come up as I look at this.

First, I'd love to use this to explore mutual connections. It's great for unearthing some hidden relationships. Click on any person and you can see who you know in common, and then what kinds of groups and interests you have in common with that circle.

The other thing I wonder about is how marketers may use this information. With one click on Facebook, I opted in to give the app access to this info. It doesn't automatically know the sorts of information available in my annotations, but there also is some public information (like people sharing how they know each other) that could be tapped.

If marketers could access all of it, or say if Facebook could on behalf of marketers, or if Nexus used this to power an ad network – the scenarios are limitless – then what would it mean for ad targeting? It's evident here that not all connections are created equal. I'm tightly intertwined in some networks while marginally in others. Some of my networks are more likely to talk to each other, so some of these small communities could have a lot of pull. My wife is just one node here, more off to the side and most closely linked to my college friends (my family is mostly aligned just a bit further out and to the left of my college circle), and yet she has more pull with me than any other hundred nodes combined.

In light of that, I can't say I know where it will all go, and we have a lot of research and experimented needed, but it's a sign of where things are going.

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3 thoughts on “Exploring Your Social Constellation

  1. Thanks for letting me know about this tool.
    I too have seen many like this, but none that had as many features combined and used quite as well as this.
    I did use it to find shared connections, and stumbled on one that we share (Kelly) that I would not have learned about otherwise — unless I went into our shared friends list. This way was much more fun. 🙂

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