Archive for January, 2009

Peace through networks

January 31, 2009


Rob Cross, network guru

Ok, I make fun, but Rob really is a network guru and he does great work.

Vote on course time change

January 31, 2009

We need to make some adjustments to the course time. Later this semester (actually, coming up soon), we will have to start at 2pm sometimes because of interference with visiting job candidates. So we need to decide how to handle this. Please take this poll and tell me your thoughts!

Yes, there is class today!

January 30, 2009

I’ve been without internet since the storm hit, and a few other things happened as well (i’m resisting saying the phrase “perfect storm”), so I have not had a chance to update web or communicate about class. But we back in the game, and the University is running, so see you at 1pm today.

Groups versus Networks

January 24, 2009

What’s the difference between a group and a network? There is considerable confusion about this, and the question itself is complicit in the confusion.

Groups and networks are not alternatives to each other. We can point to a big leafy thing in our backyard and ask is that a tree or a bush? The dividing lines between trees and bushes maybe quite blurred, but the question is reasonable.

In contrast, asking whether something is a group or a network is anot a sensible question. A group defines a set of people, and the set of ties among those people is a network. Every group has a network as one of its aspects. So does any collection of people, such as the set of people attending a certain class. 

Furthermore, networks need not be connected. For example, at the beginning of a semester, the people attending a certain class may not have any connections, direct or indirect, with certain other members of the class. Later, these connections may develop. But it is always a network. 

A difference between groups and networks is that a group defines a set of actors, and a set of actors defines a network. 

Evolution of networks. It troubles people that networks can have no ties, or can have disconnected components. But this is important because it allows us to observe network evolution as it really is. Moody has some data showing that different components of a network form before it becomes connected, rather than starting from a core and diffusing outward.

Readings changed for Research Design class

January 20, 2009

Just letting you know that I’ve made some major changes to the readings for Friday’s Research Design class.

Bowling together

January 19, 2009

Perhaps you’ve heard of Putnam’s “bowling alone”, decrying the loss of social capital in America? Not so at the UK LINKS Center. We bowl together.


Networks in the comics

January 18, 2009


Labrador decision model

January 18, 2009

SIENA Workshop Jan 22-23, Rm 452 B&E

January 18, 2009

Maurits de Klepper, a PhD student visiting from the Netherlands, is offering a short workshop on the SIENA software package. SIENA is used to model changes in a network over time, and particularly to tease out such questions as (a) are people attracted to people with certain attributes? and (b) are people influenced by the people they have ties to?

The room is very small, but in principle, all are welcome.

From Maurits: “I am Maurits de Klepper, born in West-Germany in 1982. I grew up in the Netherlands near the beach (IJmuiden) and I currently live in Hilversum. I did my bachelor and masters in Social Sciences at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (graduated in 2004). During my bachelor I was introduced to the amazing and dazzling world of network analysis. Later I followed another course in social network methodology in Groningen, which is when Tom Snijders introduced me to SIENA. My network curiosity started out with a general interest in network methodology, but it shifted during my masters thesis to the application within an inter-organizational context. In September 2004 I started my PhD-project about the diffusion of innovations via networks within organizations (i.e. intra-organizational networks). Besides work I like to cook, and read about Dutch language and literature.”

Google Group

January 17, 2009

I’ve just sent a welcoming message on our google group. If you did not receive it, please sign up for the group!