Blog 5 node centrality

When it comes to social networks, there are four main node centrality measures that describe networks. Node centrality measures are important in social network analysis, but also in other fields when doing research. Degrees look at how many links a node has to other nodes in a network. Betweenness centrality looks at the shortest path between nodes. Closeness centrality refers to how close a node is to other nodes in a network, and eigenvector centrality looks at how important a node is, it looks at how many other links to other nodes in a network there are. If a node has a high eigenvector centrality, it is well connected to other nodes, it is important.


This is a good example of how people are the nodes, it shows the links between all of the nodes in this particular network. Some are closer together than others.

Node centrality measures are not only used when looking at social networks, they can be used in the health field also when looking at infectious diseases and how they spread. “In epidemiology, some possibly infective contacts between individuals are long term (friends, family) but many are fleeting (people in the street or the market place).”(Hyoungshick & Anderson, 2012) When it comes to infectious diseases, it is important to find the node that had the most contact with others, they may be long term and people they have been in close contact with over a period of time, or they may be short term, If someone is sick on an airplane, and they touch their tray, then it doesn’t get cleaned completely, the next person who sits there could get sick. They didn’t have a long-term connection to each other, in fact, they didn’t really have a connection at all, apart from the airplane tray. In the article by (Hyoungshick & Anderson, 2012), they looked at merchants and villages and the closeness and betweenness values between them to look at how diseases spread.

This picture shows an initially infected adult and the different links it has to other nodes(people). It is a good way to show how diseases can spread.

In cases of Ebola or STD’S it is important that they find who came into contact with the person who is sick. The same goes for vaccinations and how they protect against disease. “If a node has twice the neighbors of another, it has twice as many nodes to which to spread an infection.” (Holme, 2017) Meaning they not only have twice the way to spread an infection, but also get an infection. If someone has a close degree centrality and they are sick, it means that they are looking at all of the links one person has to another (who they have come in contact with) When looking at closeness centrality, this looks at how close a person is to other people. Betweenness centrality would look at the shortest path between two people, and eigenvector centrality looks at how important one person is in the network and whether they had come into contact with a lot of people. If they had, this means they are a significant person, they might be a carrier of the disease. This shows that node centrality is important, not just with social networks, but even when health professionals are looking at the spread of disease.

Holme, P. (2017). Three faces of node importance in network epidemiology: Exact results for small graphs. Physical Review E, 96(6). doi:10.1103/physreve.96.062305

Hyoungshick, K., & Anderson, R. (2012). Temporal node centrality in complex networks. Physical Review E,85(2). doi:10.1103/physreve.85.026107

Bowling alone and Social Capital: Blog 4

Growing technology advances have increased over the years, which led to the idea from Robert Putnam that we are all bowling alone. Bowling alone refers to the idea that communal participation in the U.S. has been declining and people do not bowl in teams anymore, they bowl alone. (Kadushin, 2012) While there may be a decline in face to face interactions, the use of technology still provides us the ability to have strong ties and relationships with others. While bowling in groups may have decreased over the years, bowling alone has increased. That isn’t to say that we are all isolated, but with social media and cell phones, there became less of a need to go out and talk face to face. Even though in person interactions decreased, technology still has the ability to bring people closer together.

This picture shows just how many Facebook users there are. This was from January 2018, so I am sure the number has only increased since then. It just shows how social media is a big part of our lives now.

Now, people are able to stream movies and shows on Netflix or Hulu, even cable has changed over the years. Social media went from Myspace to Facebook, even my Grandma has a Facebook now. Even if I am less socially engaged in person, I am more connected through technology. I was born in Scotland and moved here when I was younger, so I still have a lot of family there. Social networking has given me the ability to talk to my family in Scotland who I wouldn’t be able to talk to regularly otherwise. I am also able to see them on Skype, and even though we aren’t directly in front of each other, I am still thankful for the technology that allows me to see them on a computer. Even since I was young, there have been many changes in terms of computers, internet, and cell phones. It makes me wonder what other advances are still to come.

Social capital Is “everything psychological and social about a person”. (Kadushin, 2012) Our social capital refers to our connections in our social networks, whether they are strong or weak ties. Our social capital is important because it gives us the ability to connect and form relationships, it brings people together. Trust between people is important when it comes to social capital, if we have something personal going on, we usually reach out and talk to someone from our strong ties, whether that be a family member, a close friend, or someone we are in a relationship with. We can trust them.

Reciprocity is part of a social capital, but I think this is an example of how social capital may not always be positive and how people could use social capital to their advantage, but not necessarily in a good way. If I volunteer for something, help a friend, or do something for someone else, I don’t do it because I expect something in return, which is what reciprocity is. It is the understanding that if someone does something for me, I’ll do something for them in return. I don’t think that is how relationships and connections between people should work. I would like to think that most people don’t think this way, and that they do things for others just because it is the right thing to do and not because they will use that for something for themselves in the future.

This picture shows what goes into social capital. The networks in social capital consist of brides and bonds.

Social capital can definitely be useful when it comes to research because we can reach out to our strong ties to conduct our research. We could also reach out to our weak ties if we needed more participants and more data. When collecting data for my own research, I can reach out to strong ties first because they are the people I am closest to, then I can start expanding the people I reach out to, I would start asking weak ties (acquaintances) that I don’t talk to regularly but I may be friends with on Facebook. Social capital helps in our daily lives because it gives us the ability to form relationships and connections, no matter how big or small with other people.

Kadushin, C. (2012). Understanding social networks: theories concepts and findings. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Small world

The small world theory suggests that we all have connections to other people, and while two people may not know each other, they might have a friend in common, so they have some kind of link between them. For example, if we have three people, Nicole, Dave, and Jessica and Nicole and Dave know each other, and Nicole and Jessica know each other, but Dave and Jessica don’t, they still have a connection because they share an acquaintance. If they were both at a party I wasn’t at and they started talking, chances are it might come up I was each of their friends. That is why we often hear people saying it is a small world when referring to someone they both know. It is pretty amazing to meet someone and realize you have a mutual acquaintance out of all the people in the world.

This picture shows how strong and weak ties are both helpful. It says Mary wants to buy a new car, but the strong ties she has as friends may not necessarily be experts when it comes to new cars, so the strong ties are able to give her the names to people they know, who are the weak ties.

Strong ties and weak ties are both important because everyone has both. A strong tie would be family, best friends, or people we are in relationships with. A weak tie is more like someone we don’t talk to often, so a friend of a friend. If I take 50 of my Facebook friends and ask them to name 5 of their best friends, chances are that out of the 5 friends they name, I would know at least some of them. We tend to have friendships with people we are similar to, so chances are that depending on if I have a strong tie or a weak tie to one of the original 50 people I ask, that we will have some similar friends. Both strong and weak ties are important because both give us connections to other people. While strong ties are usually who we have the strongest relationships with, weak ties are also important because they allow us to meet new people.

“Researchers have found evidence that all individuals on this planet can reach another through on average only five intermediaries.”(Yang, Keller & Zheng, 2017) Kevin Bacon has to do with six degrees of separation because of a college game that was created. The idea was to see how many people have a tie to Kevin Bacon. There is a website where you can enter another famous person’s name, and that number is how many links until they get to Kevin Bacon, by similar actors or movies. One of my favorite shows right now is Outlander, so the name I put in was Caitriona Balfe. Caitriona Balfe has a Bacon number of 2. I included a picture of how, along with the website.

This shows the Bacon number that Caitriona Balfe has to Kevin Bacon.




Yang, S., Zhang, L., & Keller, F. B. (2017). Social network analysis: Methods and examples. Los Angeles: Sage.

Blog 2: Social networks

Social network analysis is important in modern society because social networks are used every day. An example would be Facebook or Twitter. “Facebook where the links indicate friends or links, or Twitter where the links may be retweets or followers.” (Yang & Keller, 2017) Social network analysis is important because we form relationships and have relationships, whether that be with family or friends or meeting new people and starting new relationships with people. Social network analysis looks at relationships between actors, which are also known as the nodes, and the ties, which are the edges, between them. “Social network research can be seen as one approach to dealing with a central problem in social theory, which is to capture the relationship between the individual and society.” (Keim, 2011)

This shows how many social networks there are out there. I thought this picture did a good job of showing the different types of social networks, whether it be social media, search engines, communication apps, etc.

When it comes to social networks, there can be positive and negative relationships or strong and weak ties. I didn’t realize that social network analysis also included negative relationships. When I hear the word social networks, I always thought of positive relationships. My thought process was one sided because I mainly thought of social network analysis having to do with the internet, not people.

 This shows how strong ties and weak ties work. It shows the individual and how they have a few close people to them which are the strong ties, then the people on the outside are the weaker ties.

Social science looks more at an actual sample of what is being studied, it deals more with math, such as statistics or graphs. Traditional social science research is linear. “Social science involves social entities involved in social action.” (Robins, 2015) Relational data looks at different connections and ties to people in social networks, what connects one actor to another. When I think of relational, I think an example would be coworkers. The connection between them is that they work together. Descriptive analysis goes more in depth about the research, it can look at what makes networks the same or whether they have differences. It would look at the types of actors involved and how relationships are formed. Predictive analysis takes what has already been learned and takes data that has been collected and it looks at predictions about what might happen. This doesn’t always work for all research, it depends on what is being looked at. While a lot has been learned about social network analysis, there is still a lot to learn.

Keim, S. (2011). ‘The Social Network Perspective.” in Social Networks and Family Formation Processes.

Robins, G. (2015). Doing social network research: Network-based research design for social scientists. Los Angeles: Sage Publications.

Yang, S., Zhang, L., & Keller, F. B. (2017). Social network analysis: Methods and examples. Los Angeles: Sage.

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