W h y s o c i a l n e t w o r k s ?
As it turns out, social network theory is a powerful way in which to think about communities online. It addresses question such as how people form communities that are not restricted to their immediate physical surroundings. One of the main postulates in this field is that communities are based on communication channels, not on physical co-location.
Computer-mediated communication (CMC) offers new opportunities to visualize egocentric networks, to identify ties that crosscut foci of activity, to aid in tie maintenance, and to identify the strength of network ties. Email, being a communication channel through which users have been interacting on an everyday basis for the past several years, presents a unique opportunity to observe one's social network as it changes in time.
PostHistory, the visualizations depict a user's email activity on a day-to-day basis, focusing on questions such as: When does a new tie appear in your email history? When does a tie fade out of your email history? How many messages are sent to you personally as opposed to messages sent to lists of people? How strong are the ties in your network (i.e., what is the frequency of contact and how personal are those contacts?) How many messages are CCed to you? Who CCs you on messages? Whom do you CC?
|motivation and goal|
|how is it done?|
|why social networks?|