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Analyzing Social Media Networks with Microsoft NodeXL Paperback – 9 Dec 2010

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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Morgan Kaufmann; 1 edition (9 Dec. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780123822291
  • ISBN-13: 978-0123822291
  • ASIN: 0123822297
  • Product Dimensions: 1.3 x 20.3 x 25.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 489,081 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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"Hansen, Shneiderman, and Smith, along with their collaborators, have written a readable introduction to the field of social media network analysis. Furthermore, the book is a nice tutorial on an interesting tool that readers can experiment with on their own. For example, the readers can simply use the Facebook application provided by Bernie Hogan, one of the book's collaborators, to analyze the ego networks that they know best: their own network of friends, family, and acquaintances. This book offers a sure way to understand some of the basic concepts of network analysis."--Computing Reviews "This is a niche book that is also multi-discliplinary. NodeXL has involved experts in information studies, computer science, sociology, human-computer interaction and cultural studies and this book has contributions from researchers in all these fields and more. It is however highly practical and will motivate readers to use this tool for their own research." "The authors explore the applications of Microsoft's NodeXL, a free, open-source social network analysis (SNA) plug-in for use with Excel. It provides instant graphical representation of relationships of complex networked data, drawing on over 20 years of visual analytic theory and information visualization."--Usability News

About the Author

Ben Shneiderman is a professor in the Department of Computer Science, head of the Human-Computer Interaction Laboratory, and member of the Institutes for Advanced Computer Studies and Systems Research at the University of Maryland, College Park. He is the author and coauthor of many books, technical papers, and textbooks.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mark Pack TOP 500 REVIEWER on 18 July 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A very helpful book which takes a technical subject and guides the reader from simple explanations through to advanced topics.

Although some parts of it refer to software features/menus which have since been changed in newer versions of NodeXL, it is still a good guide to using the software as well as a good guide to the wider concepts.
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By N. Lewis on 3 July 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the only specific book available currently, through there is another in the pipeline I believe. takes a bit of getting into, but I'm definitely finding it useful.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 20 reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
A thorough and practical guide to using NodeXL while explaining the theory and practical applications behind each step... 11 Nov. 2010
By RNS - Published on
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Intended to be an introduction and guide to the application of social network analysis (SNA) to the realm of social media, readers interested in how we can use methodologies of SNA and mathematical applications of graph and networking theory, to analyze the social media networks that form when individuals link-up or respond to each other, will want to purchase and study this book.

First, some background notes. This book has its roots in the work of an organization that has received generous funding support from Microsoft, called The Social Media Research Foundation. The Foundation has made significant progress in the development of open tools and open data sets for the purpose of encouraging open scholarship in the realm of social media and worked hard to develop tools that allow for better visualization and analysis of such widely used services as email, Wikis, Twitter, flickr, YouTube, Facebook, and the World Wide Web (WWW).

However, tracking content flowing through social media can be like trying to drink from an open fire hose. Realizing this, the Foundation began to focus resources and personnel on efforts to utilize ideas from the social sciences to follow the "social media swarm" of comments, favorites, product tags, ratings and links, in order to discern the key words, individuals and topics being communicated here and there. One of the tangible results of their work is the Foundation's release of a free and open product referred to as "NodeXL." The application itself is "a spreadsheet add-in," that is designed to support macro-views of networks for the purpose of "discovery and exploration." The Microsoft-funded research team built this tool to fit inside the user's copy of Excel in either Office 2007or 2010.

Does it work? Well, users say that it "makes the creation of social network maps as easy as making a pie chart."

Users can use NodeXL to make maps of public social media conversations based upon topics that matter to them. These maps of connections between people who mention a product, or a brand or some other key word or phrase, can reveal to users key positions and clusters in the crowded social networks. In this manner, users can zero-in on individuals who discuss a topic as they appear to be the "center" of the display and often are one of the key and influential members of the population being analyzed as well as have the ability to measure changes over time.

With small and multinational businesses alike, entrepreneurs, private individuals, and State and Federal government agencies all looking to SNA tools for help in discerning trends, networking connections, and changes in social media interactions, Microsoft's NodeXL free, open-source plug-in for use with Excel provides users with instant graphical representations of the relationships that exist between complex networked data. This is an obvious breakthrough for researchers, students and end-users alike who seek to study and understand visual and network analytics and develop applications useful in the real world.

Still interested? Then, this is a book for you - as members of the application development teams present readers with good overview case studies and how-to explanations regarding the developments behind each NodeXL application feature. Here's the table-of-contents to whet your interest:

I. Getting Started with Analyzing Social Media Networks
1. Introduction to Social Media and Social Networks
2. Social media: New Technologies of Collaboration
3. Social Network Analysis: Measuring, Mapping, and Modeling Collections of Connections

II. NodeXL Tutorial: Learning by Doing
4. Getting Started with NodeXL, Layout, Visual Design, and Labeling
5. Calculating and Visualizing Network Metrics
6. Preparing Data and Filtering
7. Clustering and Grouping

III Social Media Network Analysis Case Studies
8. Email: The Lifeblood of Modern Communication
9. Thread Networks: Mapping Message Boards and Email Lists
10. Twitter: Conversation, Entertainment, and Information, All in One Network!
11. Visualizing and Interpreting Facebook Networks
12. WWW Hyperlink Networks
13. Flickr: Linking People, Photos, and Tags
14. YouTube: Contrasting Patterns of Interaction and Prominence
15. Wiki Networks: Connections of Creativity and Collaboration
Appendix- NodeXL for Programmers

Principal authors are - from the University of Maryland - Derek L. Hansen of the iSchool and Ben Shneiderman of the Department of Computer Science and with Marc A. Smith, a sociologist, that is presently Chief Social Scientist with the Connected Action Consulting Group in Silicon Valley, California.

Highly recommended for college and university library collections, and readers interested in methodologies used to better understand the social networks permeating our personal and professional lives.

R. Neil Scott, MBA/MSLS
Middle Tennessee State University
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Outstanding Publication on Network Analysis 31 Oct. 2010
By Dr Graham A Durant-Law CSC - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've been using NodeXL , which is a plug-in for Excel, for some time now. It just keeps getting better and better, and has become one of my network analysis tools of choice and one of the tools we use in HyperEdge Pty Ltd . I therefore had no hesitation in pre-ordering "Analyzing Social Media Networks with NodeXL: Insights from a Connected World" by Derek Hansen, Ben Shneiderman, and Marc Smith. Undoubtedly this is one of the better network analysis books on the market, and I unreservedly give it five stars. It is all the more better because it provides a comprehensive tutorial over several chapters on how to get the best from NodeXL.

The book has 15 chapters organised into three sections. The first three chapters serve as an introduction to social network analysis and social media like Twitter, Flickr and Facebook - none of which I use. I particularly like the chapter structure, which is consistent throughout the book. Each chapter provides key definitions and themes and finishes with both a "Practitioner's Summary" and a "Researcher's Agenda" - this means one can skim the book and quickly locate personal interests. Chapter 3 is elegant in its definitions and summary of key network analysis concepts. I particularly liked the idea of `network nirvana':

. every vertex is visible;
. every vertex's degree is countable;
. every edge can be followed from source to destination; and
. clusters and outliers are identifiable.

Section 2 is called "NodeXL Tutorial: Learning By Doing" and consists of four chapters. These chapters are, in my opinion, the heart of the book. They cover all the key elements of using NodeXL for network analysis, including layout, labelling and metrics. There is enough in the chapters to pique the interest of practitioners and academics alike, from beginner to advanced analyst. Again I like the elegance and accessibility for lay-people to some of the definitions. So much so that this text will become a standard inclusion in all my seminars and requires me to develop a NodeXL seminar and workshop!

The final section provides eight chapters, six of which are contributed by network researchers, and all of which provide case studies of network analysis using NodeXL. I found the chapter on email and lists of most interest, and commercially of most use, but from an academic perspective all the chapters are very interesting. The Twitter chapter was particularly enlightening, especially given I don't really see the value of Twitter - I'm rethinking that position at the moment! Similarly the Facebook chapter provided some interesting insights.

All in all this book was an excellent and easy read. Already my book is dog-eared and has lots of margin scribbles and highlights. I unreservedly give it five stars - five stars for readability and five stars for the learning by doing approach. It is a must-have book for every serious student and practitioner of network analysis. I can't wait for an e-book version, which I will buy immediately it is released.

Regards Graham
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
A Fantastic Overview of an Important Emerging Science 7 Feb. 2011
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
I purchased this book because I was interested in harvesting the data from my twitter, facebook, and other networking sources online, and the text made pulling that data and crafting beautiful graphs with it quick and easy. What surprised me, however, was how fascinating exploring this data was. With my Facebook network map, I found my friends naturally grouped into categories. With my Twitter map, I found key people in my social network who served as the glue keeping us together. I highly recommend this book, not just for these fun data-explorations, but also for a fantastic introduction into the world of Social Network Science, which is already extremely important in our increasingly networked world.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
A practical introduction to social media network analysis with great examples 28 Nov. 2010
By Angela M. Hey - Published on
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Learn how to analyze social networks with this book. The text is beautifully arranged so that any Excel user can analyze moderately sized social networks. NodeXL is a free add-in template for Excel that helps people visualize connections in social networks. It helps people understand who's powerful, who's well-connected and who's lacking friends. It can also show links between ideas and network tags, as illustrated in the section on Flickr.

Chapters start with an easy-to-read Introduction. They end with a Practitioner's Summary and a Researcher's Agenda that help readers understand the state-of-the-art.

The first three chapters clarify terminology and concepts, giving readers a common starting point. They don't get too technical (for example they don't use the word valency to describe a graph's node), but they provide enough terminology so that theoreticians and practitioners can grasp the essentials quickly. There are many facets of network analysis, from the pure mathematical to street maps to telecom networks and now to social networks, and the authors do a great job of laying out the fundamentals. There are plenty of references at the end of each chapter and Advanced Topics are highlighted in the text.

Chapters 4 to 7 deal explain NodeXL very well. I particularly like the colored diagrams that illustrate how to use Excel 2007 with the NodeXL template.

Section III has several contributed chapters that cover social networks created by services like Twitter, Flickr and YouTube. The examples I tried worked well and there are plenty of creative ideas for making graphs. The consistent style and format of each chapter makes the book easy to follow.

It is an ideal textbook for a college or high school course on social network analysis. It is also useful for managers who want to understand social networks for business planning and marketing. For researchers it gives plenty of references and ideas for future projects.

The book is a great example of how to present a technical topic for practitioners - it is clear, well-structured and comprehensive. World class research need not be obscure as this book shows.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
A great find for me 25 Jan. 2011
By Sukru Tikves - Published on
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This book on analyzing social networks have been a great find for me. Honestly, I was not expecting much more than a user manual for the NodeXL system when I saw the book. I could not have been more wrong. It really helped me with my research (I'm actually paid to do observations on various social interactions).

First an introduction for NodeXL: It's a versatile framework (actually a template) for the Excel application. Since it started as an open-source project at Microsoft, it makes sense that NodeXL is based upon their technologies. However since most data can be imported easily be Excel application (own own algorithms directly produce those files via Perl scripts), it's not a barrier for entry. It can be downloaded from codeplex website, and installed on your system.

In the book, I was not only able to find out how exactly use the NodeXL framework (I'm using this word instead of template as a personal choice), but also a general overview of social media, and data analysis. After these introductory tutorials (which are nice reminders), it describes how to use the tools to extract, visualize, cluster, and analyze social media based graphs. Also particular networks of twitter, facebook, youtube, and wikies are described, since NodeXL already comes with mining tools for these cases.

While I generally liked the book, I wished they also contained more information on implementation details. The general overview of particular problems, and how to use the tools to solve them are detailed, however my software development background causes some hunger for more.

Overall I'd recommend the book for researchers on this area. It's concise, well written and helpful.
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