Today’s post is from our partner at NATIONAL, Kevin McCann. Enjoy!
I love network graphs.
I’m also the kind of person who says things like “I love network graphs” without irony. Take from that what you will.
Before I get to why I think they’re great, some basics. What’s a network graph? In muddled layman’s terms:
Network graphs are an output of graph theory, which is “the study of mathematical structures used to model relationships between objects.” To put it another way, this is the practice of showing the connectedness of things: How close in proximity they are (geographically or ideologically), how influential compared to peers, and how tight bonds are between connections. There is so much we can learn about ourselves through this kind of work. Ever wonder how ideas can spread through groups, or what kind of structure yields the most effective team? Try graph theory for the answers.
Even more exciting, we are just nibbling at the golden age of network graphing because—as I’ve written about before—we’ve never had so much stuff in the world that is demonstrably and measurably connected to each other, nor the tools to understand these connections. Thank you internet, IoT, phones, social media, email, and every other digital thing that talks to other digital things.
Seeing the patterns of these networks reveal a lot about us as a society and how we interact.
- They reveal hidden truths and patterns, like the intellectual property stances of Apple vs. Google, the history of music, notable relationships in the Middle East, or the human interactions surrounding a complex healthcare company on any given day.
- They help us understand stories, art, and culture—from Game of Thrones to Shakespeare.
- Network graphs and analysis can help us interpret peer relationships, like what influences our happiness and how we influence (or don’t influence) each other.
We create network graphs for clients in order to understand the patterns, connectedness, and natural clustering of stakeholders. As an experiment, we took a look at the recent provincial election in Nova Scotia and the social conversation. Head on over to the NATIONAL blog to see the result!
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