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.