We are a group of social media researchers (listed below) who want to create tools, generate and host open data, and support open scholarship related to social media.  The Social Media Research Foundation is a 501(c)(3) tax exempt public charity incorporated in California.

Social media is the term for all the ways people connect to people through computation. Mobile devices, social networks, micro-blogging and location sharing are just a few of the ways people engage in computer-mediated collective action.

Mapping, measuring and understanding the landscape of social media is our mission. We support tool projects that enable the collection, analysis and visualization of social media data. We host data sets that are relevant to social media research. And we will support graduate students studying and building research related to social media.

Today, our primary project is NodeXL, the network overview discovery and exploration add-in for Excel 2007 (and 2010 and 2013) that extends the familiar spreadsheet so that it can collect, analyze and visualize complex social networks.

We plan to take on additional projects that improve the variety and quality of data available to the NodeXL social network analysis platform (among others that consume the open GraphML format).

Contributors to SMRF include Natasa Milic-Frayling from Microsoft ResearchEduarda Mendes Rodrigues from the University of PortoBen ShneidermanDerek HansenUdayan KhuranaCody Dunne and others at the University of MarylandMarc Smith at Connected Action ConsultingJure Leskovec at Stanford UniversityVladimir Barash and Scott Golder at CornellBernie Hogan at Oxford University, and Libby Hemphill at the Illinois Institute of Technology. Recent additions to the Social Media Research Foundation include John Kelly from Morningside Analytics, Itai Himelboim from the University of Georgia, Han Woo Park from Yeungnam University, and Gihong Yi from Hallym University.

Your support keeps our projects, like NodeXL, active and strong.  Please contribute.

We produce NodeXL Basic which is available freely and openly to all.

NodeXL Pro offers advanced features for importing social media data, calculating social network metrics, sentiment analysis, and publishing reports.

NodeXL Pro is licensed to users on an annual basis:

Registration keys will be required to run NodeXL Pro starting in October 2015! 

Contact [email protected] for details!


Marc A. Smith is a sociologist specializing in the social organization of online communities and computer-mediated interaction. Smith leads the Connected Action consulting group and lives and works in Silicon Valley, California. Connected Action (www.connectedaction.net) applies social science methods in general and social network analysis techniques in particular to enterprise and Internet social media usage. He is the co-editor, with Peter Kollock, of Communities in Cyberspace (Routledge), a collection of essays exploring the ways identity, interaction, and social order develop in online groups. Smith received a B.S. in International Area Studies from Drexel University in Philadelphia in 1988, an M. Phil. in social theory from Cambridge University in 1990, and a Ph.D. in Sociology from UCLA in 2001. He is an affiliate faculty at the Department of Sociology at the University of Washington and the College of Information Studies at the University of Maryland. Smith is a Distinguished Visiting Scholar at the Stanford University Media-X program.

Ben Shneiderman (www.cs.umd.edu/~ben) is a professor in the Department of Computer Science and founding director (1983-2000) of the Human-Computer Interaction Laboratory (www.cs.umd.edu/hcil) at the University of Maryland. He was elected as a Fellow of the Association for Computing (ACM) in 1997 and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in 2001. He received the ACM SIGCHI Lifetime Achievement Award in 2001. Shneiderman is the co-author, with Catherine Plaisant, of Designing the User Interface: Strategies for Effective Human-Computer Interaction (5th ed., April 2009), www.awl.com/DTUI. With S. Card and J. Mackinlay, he co-authored “Readings in Information Visualization: Using Vision to Think” (1999). With Ben Bederson he co-authored The Craft of Information Visualization (2003). His book Leonardo’s Laptop: Human Values and the New Computing Technologies appeared in October 2002 (MIT Press) (http://mitpress.mit.edu/leonardoslaptop) and won the IEEE book award for Distinguished Literary Contribution.


Itai Himelboim from the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia where he studies the role social media plays in news, political and international communication. He applies network analysis to examine political talk and information flow to identify the naturally occurring patterns of communications among social actors in online spaces.  His research explores how these patterns reveal how people choose information sources.  Network analysis of social media reveals the most strategically connected users – hubs and bridges – in these online discussions, highlighting the new roles news media play in interpersonal-communication spaces.  He has published in Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly, Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media, Communication Research, and Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication.

Jure Leskovec is assistant professor of Computer Science at Stanford University. His research focuses on mining large social and information networks. Problems he investigates are motivated by large scale data, the Web and on-line media. This research has won several awards including a Microsoft Research Faculty Fellowship, the Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship and numerous best paper awards. Leskovec received his bachelor’s degree in computer science from University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, and his PhD in in machine learning from the Carnegie Mellon University and postdoctoral training at Cornell University. You can follow him on Twitter @jure.

As Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research Cambridge (MSRC), Natasa Milic-Frayling sets research directions for the Integrated Systems group (http://research.microsoft.com/is), a cross-disciplinary team focused on design, prototyping and evaluation of information and communication systems and services. She also serves as Director of Research Partnership with industry (http://research.microsoft.com/rpp), the MSRC programme that facilitates collaboration between MS Research and industry leading partners and clients. Natasa is actively involved with a wider industry and academic community, promoting research and innovation through public speaking and research engagements.

Derek L. Hansen
is  an Assistant Professor at Brigham Young University’s Information Technology program in the School of Technology (http://it.et.byu.edu/). Dr. Hansen completed his PhD from the University of Michigan’s School of Information where he was an NSF-funded interdisciplinary STIET Fellow (http://stiet.si.umich.edu/) focused on understanding and designing effective online socio-technical systems. His research focuses on mass collaboration, games for change, citizen science, consumer health informatics, and social network analysis and visualization.

Cody Dunne recently graduated with a PhD in Computer Science from the University of Maryland Human Computer Interaction Lab. His research focuses on information visualization, specifically on improving the readability of network visualizations and the application of network analysis techniques to real-world problems. Some examples include visualizing citations in academic literature, interactions of people and organizations, relationships in archaeological dig sites, term co-occurrence, thesaurus category relationships, and computer network traffic flow. He is a contributor to the NodeXL project, an open source network visualization template for Microsoft Excel. Cody also earned a B.A. in Computer Science and Mathematics from Cornell College in 2007 and an M.S. in Computer Science from the University of Maryland in 2009.

2014-Brian Keegan

Brian Keegan is a computational social scientist and post-doctoral research fellow at Northeastern University. He received his PhD in 2012 from Northwestern University and his dissertation examined the history, structure, and dynamics of Wikipedia’s coverage of breaking news events. He draws upon theories and methods from network science, computer-supported cooperative work, computer-mediated communication, and organizational studies to understand high-tempo knowledge work, online political communication, and network forms of organization and innovation. His research has been published in the American Behavioral Scientist, CSCW, ICWSM, WWW, and IEEE Social Computing.

Ines Mergel
Dr. Ines Mergel is Assistant Professor of Public Administration and International Affairs at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. Her research focuses on how public sector organizations innovate with new technologies and the role social media plays in these innovation processes. She studies how public managers adopt new technologies into the existing bureaucratic and hierarchical communication paradigm and explore new forms of online interactions.

Sorin Matei
Sorin Adam Matei is Associate Professor at the Brian Lamb School of Communication at Purdue University.  He is CyberCenter Director of Research for Computational Social Science at the Discovery Park and a Purdue Polytechnic Institute Fellow.

Scott Golder
(@redlog) is a graduate student in Sociology at Cornell University. He was previously a researcher at HP Labs, and holds an A.B. in Linguistics with Computer Science from Harvard University and an M.S. in Media Arts and Sciences from the MIT Media Laboratory. His research interests broadly include network and social identity effects online, which he has examined in a variety of environments including usenet, online poker, social bookmarking and social network services. His website is www.redlog.net.

2013-Karina Alexanyan
Karina Alexanyan received her PhD in Communications from Columbia University in 2012, with a focus on global social media networks.
Karina has presented on social media networks at a number of conferences and venues, including the National Communication Association, the United States Institute of Peace, Columbia Future Leaders Conference, as well as interviews on the Brian Lehrer Show and BBC’s “The World”.

Vladimir Barash
(@vlad43210) is a Senior Researcher and Engineer at Morningside Analytics. He has received his Ph.D. from Cornell University, where he studied with Michael Macy, Jon Kleinberg, and Claire Cardie. Both at Cornell and now at Morningside, Vladimir’s research interests focus mainly on social media, diffusion and viral marketing, meme tracking, and other topics around the dynamics of memetic objects in online communities. In his spare time, Vladimir blogs at: vlad43210.wordpress.com.

Bernie Hogan
is a Research Fellow at the Oxford Internet Institute at the University of Oxford. Bernie’s work focuses on the process of networking, or maintaining connections with other people. His dissertation focused on the use of multiple media for networking while his current research on Facebook looks at the complexities of networking with multiple groups on a single site.

Eduarda Mendes Rodrigues
is an Assistant Professor of Informatics Engineering at the University of Porto, Portugal. Her research interests lie in the broad areas of data mining and web information retrieval. In particular, her current research is focused on the interplay between social sciences and web technologies, aiming to develop effective data mining techniques for characterizing user behavior in online communities and improving information retrieval in social media. She holds a Ph.D. in Electronic & Electrical Engineering from University College London, UK.


Jana Diesner is an Assistant Professor at the iSchool at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She earned her PhD from Carnegie Mellon University, School of Computer Science, in the Computation, Organizations and Society (COS) Program.  Jana conducts research at the nexus of network science, natural language processing and machine learning. She contributes to the computational analysis and better understanding of the interplay and co-evolution of information and the structure and functioning of socio-technical networks. She develops and investigates methods and technologies for extracting information about networks from text corpora and considering the content of information for network analysis. In her empirical work, she studies networks from the business, science and geopolitical domain. She is particularly interested in covert information and covert networks.

Howard T. Welser
is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Ohio University, where he explores issues of social change and technology in courses on group processes, introduction to sociology, and research methods. His research investigates how micro-level processes generate collective outcomes, with application to status achievement in avocations, development of institutions and social roles, the emergence of cooperation, and network structure in computer mediated interaction. He has a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Washington.

Libby Hemphill (http://www.libbyh.com) is a Research Fellow at the University of Michigan where she explores the experiences of newcomers to established virtual organizations and the use of technologies in environmentally sustainable decision-making. She is interested in the roles of social media in decision-making and community development. Libby will join the faculty at the Illinois Institute of Technology in August as an Assistant Professor of Technical Communication. She holds a Ph.D. in Information from the University of Michigan.

Giwoong Yun
Gi Woong Yun (http://www.mediaresearchlab.org/giwoongyun/) is an associate professor at Telecommunications Department in the School of Media & Communication at Bowling Green State University. His research interest is online media. He works on social psychological theories of communication, online social media, risk communication, online research methodology, and more. Also, he manages to spend time working on online application development and running several websites.

Han Woo Park, (@hanwoopark) studies the network structure of social media, particularly political discussions in Korea.  He leads the Webometrics Institute in Yeungnam University in Deagu, Korea.

Gihong Yi
 (@gihong) is interested in investigating the relationship between offline behavior and online content in explaining ordinary people’s everyday life, and has co-authored books including Understanding the Information Society (Korean, <<정보사회의 이해>>) and has participated in interdisciplinary research projects on SNS and online policies. Yi is an Associate Professor at the Department of Sociology, Hallym University, with trainings in economic sociology (mainly social capital and the quality of life), social network analysis, and empirical methodology from Seoul National University (BA) and UCLA (MA + PhD).

2014-Homero Gil de Zuniga - Small

Univ.-Prof. Dr. Homero Gil de ZuñigaPh.D., holds a Ph.D. in Politics from the Universidad Europea de Madrid and a Ph.D. in Mass Communication from University of Wisconsin – Madison, Dr. Gil de Zúñiga is the Medienwandel Chair Professor at the University of Vienna, where he directs the Media Innovation Lab (MiLab) within the College of Social Sciences. His research addresses the influence of new technologies and digital media in people’s daily lives, as well as the effect of such use on the overall democratic process. He has published several books, book chapters, and over 30 articles in a diverse number of peer-reviewed journals illustrating his research framework, including Communication Research, Journal of Communication, Journal of Computer Mediated Communication, Human Communication Research, etc. Dr. Gil de Zúñiga has obtained a number of grants and awards as principal investigator, co-principal investigator or executive committee member totaling over 4 million dollars. He has presented his work at professional associations and Universities around the globe (i.e, USA, Spain, Canada, Germany, France, Mexico, Malaysia, Cuba, United Kingdom, The Netherlands, Chile or Colombia), receiving numerous top research paper awards from the World Association for Public Opinion Research, the International Symposium on Online Journalism, and the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication. More about him here.

Lise_Getoor_cropped 2
Lise Getoor is a professor in the Computer Science Department at UC Santa Cruz. Her research areas include machine learning and reasoning under uncertainty, with an emphasis on graph and network data. She is an AAAI Fellow, serves on the Computing Research Association and International Machine Learning Society boards, was co-chair for ICML 2011, is a recipient of an NSF Career Award and eight best paper and best student paper awards. She received her PhD from Stanford University, her MS from UC Berkeley, and her BS from UC Santa Barbara, and was a professor at the University of Maryland, College Park from 2001-2013.

Wasim Ahmed
Wasim Ahmed
is a Doctoral Candidate at the Information School at the University of Sheffield. He regularly posts to his social media blog and regularly contributes to the popular LSE Impact blog on social media software. His post on Twitter software received was particularly popular.  Wasim has published peer reviewed articles on social media, and regularly guest lectures on social media research tools.  Wasim has years of experience with social media working with government, media, and industry. He is a central member and manager of the NatCen Social researcher’s New Social Media New Social Science (NSMNSS) network.

In memory

Dana Rotman
 received a PhD from the University of Maryland iSchool. She earned an L.Lb in Law from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and an MA in Information Studies (Cum Laude) from Bar-Ilan University in Israel. Her research focused on the intersection of content and structure of social media. She studied the effect different tools and communication intentions have on the interaction created around videos that are shared online. She received the 2009 Yahoo! Key Scientific Challenges Award.