A design and policy proposal for improving the democratic quality of social media Marc Smith…
Version 95 of NodeXL is hot off the compiler and we are pleased to announce several major features that create a social media network analysis dashboard. From the NodeXL interface it is now possible to import networks from twitter, flickr, email, and a range of social network file formats. Coming soon: support for more spigots – the connectors that pull data from leading social media sources.
What social media data most interest you? We are considering integration with web and wiki crawlers, and support for YouTube, delicious, and enterprise data sources like Active Directory (LDAP), SharePoint, and Exchange.
This release also improves support for images, particularly those pulled from URLS, like twitter or facebook profile photos!
Here, for example, is a map of the connections among twitter accounts that tweeted the “WIN09” tag that was used in the recent Social Networks Summit at NYU (http://winworkshop.net/) The map illustrates the way the summit brought together previously separate clusters of people from the various disciplines that have been attracted to the study of networks in general and social networks in particular. Size of the image equals the number of tweets that person created.
A refined version adds Edge Labels and color to highlight the different tie types in the graph: “follows” relationships and “replies to” and “mentions” and now scaled by “Followers”.
In both views, the high betweenness role of one twitter account is clear.
Release details below the fold….
- When an email network is analyzed (NodeXL, Data, Import, From Email Network), the resulting graph is now directed. This means that the relationships (John,Mary) and (Mary,John) are no longer combined into a single edge with an edge weight of 2; instead, they are considered unique edges.
- When importing a Twitter search network (NodeXL, Data, Import, From Twitter Search Network), you can now add a Tweet column to the Vertices worksheet.
- When importing a Twitter user network (NodeXL, Data, Import, From Twitter User Network), you now have some options for how edges get added to the graph. You can add an edge for each followed/following relationship (which was always done in previous versions), each “replies-to” relationship in the people’s latest tweets, and each “mentions” relationship in the latest tweets.
- Ditto for the Twitter search network, although in this case the “replies-to” and “mentions” relationships apply to the tweets that satisfied the search criteria, which aren’t necessarily the people’s latest tweets.
- Twitter search networks and Twitter user networks now add an Image URL column to the Vertices worksheet. The images are those of the people who wrote the tweets.
- Bug fix: In the Import from Twitter Search Network dialog box, the word “latest” was removed from the text, “Search for people whose latest tweets contain…” Reason: The tweets returned by the search aren’t necessarily the people’s latest tweets.
- Bug fix: When importing a Twitter search network, a tweet posted by a person with “protected” status in Twitter would bring the search to a halt with a “There is no Twitter user with that screen name” error. Now, such people are skipped.
- Bug fix: Using any of the NodeXL, Data, Import items in the ribbon failed to clear the Images worksheet before importing the new data.
- You can now import a Twitter network of users who have tweeted a specified term. For example, you can create a graph with a vertex for each person who has included the hashtag “#chi2010” in a tweet, with an edge between the people who follow each other. In the Excel Ribbon, go to NodeXL, Data, Import, From Twitter Search Network.
- When including an image in a graph, you can now specify an URL to an image on the Internet.
- When an image file isn’t available, an error message is no longer displayed. Instead, a small red X is shown in the graph in place of the missing image.
- Images can now be resized using the Size column on the Vertices worksheet. There are new options in the Options dialog box for setting the default image size. (Known bug: Changing the default image size doesn’t update the graph pane until the workbook is refreshed.)
- When importing from a Twitter user’s network (NodeXL, Data, Import, From Twitter User’s Network), a Relationship column is added to the Edges worksheet. This gets set to Followed or Follower.
- The Twitter dialog boxes now provide feedback on what they’re doing as they assemble the requested network.
- Bug fix: Attempting to get a Twitter user network that included someone who “protected” her Twitter identity would cause a failure. Now, that user is skipped and the rest of the network is obtained.
- Bug fix: There was a rounding error with very small numbers (on the order of 1.0E-22) that could cause some vertices or edges to always be filtered out by Dynamic Filters, even if the filters were reset to their entire range.
- In the Autofill Columns dialog box (NodeXL, Visual Properties, Autofill Columns), you can now specify a logarithmic mapping instead of a linear mapping when autofilling Edge Color, Edge Width, Edge Opacity, Vertex Color, Vertex Size, Vertex Opacity, Vertex Primary Label Fill Color, Vertex Layout Order, Vertex X, Vertex Y, Vertex R, or Vertex Polar Angle. Click one of the Options buttons, then check “use a logarithmic mapping.”
- You can now import a network of Flickr tags related to a specified tag. Use NodeXL, Import, From Network of Related Flickr Tags. You will need what Flickr calls an “API key.” There is a link in the Import dialog box for requesting a key from Flickr.
- The Twitter import feature has been expanded. (It’s at NodeXL, Import, From Twitter User’s Network.) You can now import the network of people followed by a user, people following a user, or both. There is a new option for selecting a 1, 1.5, or 2-level network, and you can limit the network to a specified number of people. New columns are added to the Vertices worksheet: Followed, Followers, Tweets, and (optionally) Latest Tweet. Also, you can right-click a vertex in the graph pane and select the new Open Twitter Page for This Person menu item.
- Bug fix: When using dynamic filters, a filtered edge’s label obscured what was under it even though the edge itself was hidden.
- For programmers only: The IGraphDataProvider interface used by data provider plug-ins for the Excel Template has changed. The GetGraphData() method is now called TryGetGraphData() and it now returns a Boolean. (The original design failed to accommodate failures while getting graph data.)
- You can now label edges by filling in a new Label column on the Edges worksheet. The Label column is hidden by default. To make it visible, use NodeXL, Show/Hide, Workbook Columns, Labels in the Excel Ribbon.
- You can now import a graph from a GraphML file. GraphML is an XML-based file format used by a variety of graph applications and libraries, including Pajek, “R,” and JUNG. NodeXL will import all edge and vertex attributes in a GraphML file, including those that correspond to standard NodeXL columns such as Edge Color and Vertex Size. Use NodeXL, Data, Import, From GraphML File.
- Importing from a Twitter network (NodeXL, Data, Import, From Twitter Network) is now more reliable, thanks to automatic retries that will occur if a request to Twitter fails.
- Of possible interest to developers: NodeXL now supports custom “plug-in” .NET assemblies that will import graphs from custom data sources. For details, see the IGraphDataProvider Interface topic in the NodeXLApi.chm help file and the sample implementation in SampleGraphDataProvider.cs.
- The graph legend is now more compact. (To show the legend, use NodeXL, Show/Hide, Graph Elements, Legend.)
- Bug fix: When importing from an open edge workbook (NodeXL, Data, Import, From Open Edge Workbook), columns in the open edge workbook that have the same name as standard NodeXL columns will be copied to those NodeXL columns. Before, a column named “Color” was copied to “Color 2,” for example.
- Bug fix: Your settings, such as those entered in the Options dialog box, are now stored in a single file in your local Windows profile. Before, each named NodeXL workbook got its own settings file.
- When you import data into the workbook (NodeXL, Data, Import), you now have the option to append the imported data to the workbook’s contents instead of clearing the workbook first. Check or uncheck the NodeXL, Data, Import, Clear NodeXL Workbook First checkbox to control this.
- The Closeness Centrality graph metric (NodeXL, Analysis, Graph Metrics) is now computed much more quickly. For example, with a graph containing about 1,000 vertices and 1,000 edges, the computation time went from 31 seconds to 3 seconds, and with a larger graph containing 5,000 vertices and 8,000 edges, the time went from 63 minutes to 2 minutes.
- The graph legend is now hidden by default.
- Your settings for showing or hiding the graph legend and axes (NodeXL, Show/Hide, Graph Elements) are now saved along with the rest of your settings.
- If you autofill the X and Y columns in the Vertices worksheet (NodeXL, Visual Properties, Autofill Columns), the Locked column is no longer automatically set to Yes. Instead, the Layout (NodeXL, Graph, Layout) is set to None, which achieves the same effect but is easier to undo. If you no longer want the autofilled X and Y values, just set the Layout to something else.
- In the options dialog boxes within the Autofill Columns dialog box, there is now a “Swap” button that will quickly swap the colors or numbers you are autofilling.
- You can now change the font used for the graph axes. In the graph pane, go to Options, Axis Font.
- The Auto Refresh checkbox that used to be in the NodeXL, Visual Properties Ribbon group is now in the Options dialog box, reachable from the graph pane.
- Bug fix: In the Import From Twitter Network feature, the screen name and password were not being correctly sent to Twitter. This caused Twitter rate limiting to kick in even if your rate limit had been lifted by Twitter.
- There are now X and Y axes in the graph pane. To show them, check the NodeXL, Show/Hide, Graph Elements, Axes checkbox in the Excel Ribbon. If you autofill the X and Y columns in the Vertices worksheet (NodeXL, Visual Properties, Autofill Columns), the axes will show the range of autofilled values. Otherwise, the axes simply show NodeXL’s full range of coordinate values (0 to 9,999).
- You can now export the NodeXL workbook’s edges to a UCINET file. The file format is what UCINET calls “full matrix DL.” Go to NodeXL, Data, Export, To UCINET Full Matrix DL File in the Ribbon.
- You can also import a UCINET full matrix DL file. Go to NodeXL, Data, Import, From UCINET Full Matrix DL File in the Ribbon. If you have a file in a different UCINET format, you will need to use the UCINET program to convert it to full matrix DL. Click on the “What if my file is not in full matrix DL format?” link in the Import dialog box for instructions.
- You can now export the NodeXL workbook’s edges to a Pajek file. Go to NodeXL, Data, Export, To Pajek File in the Ribbon. The vertex coordinates are exported, but no other edge or vertex attributes are.