Social Graph Series 1: Social Graph the Building Block of the Social Web

There have been a lot of talk about social graph due to the fact that Facebook announced their plan on Open Graph and their like button. This will be part of series of a blog post that I am writing to discuss about Social Graph. I will explore the definition of social graph, the potential application of social graph, privacy issue, and how user and developers can reap the most benefit out of social graph. I will present a summary of the article at the end of the series.

Social Graph Explained

The closest definition of social graph in academic field comes from the social network studies. Social Network is a study of relationship between stake holders in an organisation. Defining this relationship helps people to find out who is the source of knowledge within a firm. Who are the opinion leaders in an organisation. The relationship can be measured in different aspect, such as, who do we ask for help, who do we converse for casual topic, who do we approach frequently for advise.

Corporate strategist can do a lot of things by measuring relationship in an organisation. These information help strategist to obtain buy in from opinion leaders to influence decision making in an organisation. Strategist will be able to identify who is the potential knowledge bottle neck in an organisation. A corporate strategist can reduce the organisation dependency on knowledge bottle necks by creating knowledge sharing session between this knowledge source and the rest of the organisation to reduce the potential knowledge lost should this person become unavailable in the company.

The social graph in Web 2.0 extends this notion of social network into relationships of social objects. These social objects can be people, events, or other websites on the web.  Let us take a look at some simple relationships in Web 2.0 Social Graph. This relationship has a lot of potential applications. It range from providing targeted ads, giving personalised recommendation, or helping users find old friends on the net. Before I delve into each exciting application of social graph let us take a look at some simple social graph on the net. These relationships highlights the different social objects that we can connect to in Web 2.0. Understanding this relationship gives other people some insight on how other people and website affects my decision making and how I present my social identity on line.

Peers Graph – Explaining My Decision Making

Let us take a look at a simple relationship in Twitter. I like to call this type of relationship as Peers Graph. In this social graph I have 6 Peers. This is a subset of my twitter social graph. In this graph I am ‘Following’ 6 people. Out of this 6 people 3 of them follows my tweet. A valuable social network information that we can see here is that, I am influenced by the ideas or news that these  people share online. Gina Trapani tweeted that she ordered a special genetic testing for only $99 (usual price $499). Hearing this news I immediately decided to order myself a genetic test. Rick Klau tweeted yesterday that Google is improving Google Profile indexing in Google Search. This led me to audit the information that I put in Google Profile so that Google will be able to index my profile better.

Ross Dawson,Jesse Stay, and Elijah Manor are also following me. My tweets will appear on a regular basis in their public time line. Whether my ideas influences their decision making is unknown and that can be an interesting discussion for another time.

Human – Web Graph – Explaining My Online Social Identity

The next type of relationship is about the connection between human and web sites. This is a subset of my Human – Web Graph. This relationship shows that I publishes my content to five social media sites: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Reader, and WordPress. My human web graph relationship define my online social identity. I use my wordpress blog to publish my ideas, thoughts, how-to on technology. My linked in account has my most up to date resume. I publish my status updates to both Facebook and twitterMy Google reader aggregates the feeds that I find interesting on the web.

This relationship presents valuable information for different people. My friends who are interested to know what I am up to can check my Facebook or twitter. Recruiters who may be interested to hire me can look through my linkedIn profile. Like minded techno geeks can read my blog and discuss their ideas with me on my blog. Having knowledge of a person Human – Web Graph help us understand who this person is and what they are interested in. The potential application from this knowledge is almost unlimited.

Web 2.0 has created an opportunity for us to define our relationship beyond the boundaries of person to person. Web 2.0 helped us define how we interact with other social objects such as places, events, and websites. Understanding our user Web 2.0 relationship enable application developers to enrich user engagement through technology.

I will discuss about the enabling protocol for social graph in the next series. Till then. Good Night.

My Articles On Social Graph:


About zainul franciscus

Hi, I am a software developer and tech blogger who is currently living in Wellington, New Zealand. I write stuff that I find interesting on
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3 Responses to Social Graph Series 1: Social Graph the Building Block of the Social Web

  1. Pingback: Social Graph Series 2: Protocols that Defines Social Objects Relationship | Curly Braces

  2. Pingback: Social Graph Series 3: It’s About Time We Get Back Our Social Information | Curly Braces

  3. Pingback: Social Graph Series 4: Moving Beyond Social Privacy to Semantic Web | Curly Braces

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