Revisiting Sociometry in the context of modern Social Media Network Analysis

Expression of a Network

Expression of a Network (Source: Retrieved 5Mar2012)

The jungle is a vast laboratory of interactions and experimentation between different species of thought. It has, since time in memorial been the case, and increasingly so will continue to be a defining quality of the jungle and its inhabitants. We hope that this basic character of what distinguishes us humans as superior animals will continue indefinitely – for if a day comes when we do not interact with one another for interaction sake – the jungle would be a far lest diverse a place and far more mundane.

So it is that network analysis has always been the undercurrent of the Junglist, no matter how daunting the subject seems to be when more understanding is gained. Tribute here must be given to the pioneers of sociometry – perhaps least not to the father of psychodrama – Jacob Levy Moreno (1889  – 1974). Moreno planted the conceptual seeds and methodologies to explore and define social structures beneath the traditional language of how we define everyday relationships. The Organisation Development Company of New Zealand provides a good background on the life and works of Jacob Moreno.

Moreno’s work strikes at the fundamentals of human interaction and behavioural science, and it is – as expected – highly complex with many aspects remaining in the realm of the theoretical. More recently, however the rise and proliferation of modern social media has provided fertile grounds for active analysis of sociometry and network dynamics on the world wide web. Amongst the many practitioners, high up on google’s search results – and associated works linked to The Network Thinkers. Kudos and a mention also to Danah Boyd (Twitter@zephoria) for – unbeknownst to her – leading me to Valdis Krebs and reigniting the flames of the Jungle to think in terms of the network.


Reminiscing the good old days – Lest we Forget

Nokia - So many fond memories
A History of Nokia days gone by

In scouring the web for time lines,  I had to include this gem sourced from NewLaunches, as a tribute to the glory days…

Back then – the jungle didn’t seem that complicated. There weren’t, for example, that many choices for mobile communication. You either bought a Nokia, or you looked foolish.

In retrospect however, perhaps we all looked foolish. It never was going to be THE phone you would ever need, and the 8810 was never going to be the last investment in telecommunications one would ever make.  So it became that ours was a generation of fascinating change – at the cost of great experimentation.  Were we fortunate enough to have lived through it all? In the greater scheme of things, and no doubt not too far into the distant future – we will look back to this period and realise how luxurious it was to be afforded so much material waste in order to fulfil the market for goods. Yet we couldn’t be faulted for wasting thought… Could we?  Least not we blame Nokia for the countless memories and sentiments attached to our beloved handsets. Was it worth it? Maybe this will help you make that reflection.