Life is about relationships. The social nature of the Web is making relationships between people and content ever more apparent. Social network analysis is one great method for analyzing and evaluating those connections. It allows us to determine if visitors are engaging with a website the way we want them to. It helps us determine if our social tools are doing their job. I’ll be presenting on this very topic this week at the Evaluation 2013 conference in Washington, DC.
In Using Social Network Analysis to Measure Citizen Engagement Online I’ll talk about how my colleagues and I combined social network analysis with a variety of other research methods to evaluate an online platform called ACTion Alexandria. The platform was designed to bring together nonprofits, local citizens, and city government officials to solve community challenges and increase local civic engagement.
The graph above shows that voting on ideas was a popular activity (it has the greatest number of dots, or people, connecting to it) and was responsible for getting the greatest number of users to register for the site (you have to be registered in order to vote). Blog posts were less popular activities, but those who engaged in them were more likely to engage in other activities on the site (they have thicker connecting lines). You can read more about this graph and the story it tells at my guest blog post for the American Evaluation Association. Special thanks to Dr. Derek L. Hansen of Brigham Young University (@shakmatt) for making this graph so pretty.
If you want to see what else I’ll be presenting at the Evaluation 2013 conference, check out my post on interaction design with kids.