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Workshop: January 28th, 2011, Salinas, CA: Mapping social media networks with NodeXL

Mapping Social Networks with NodeXL:
Finding Direction in a Sea of Connection

The Community Foundation for Monterey County has a Social Network Support project that has applied network analysis techniques to map networks of nonprofit organizations ( They recognize that awareness and improved methods of working in networks can provide opportunities for new ideas, increase information flow, and help systems change. Mapping networks is one method to assess the structure of communications and work patterns. As a result, the foundation hosted a workshop on Friday, January 28th, that focused on improving network effectiveness by creating maps with NodeXL, the free, open-source network mapping tool. The Community Foundation for Monterey County generously opened the introductory workshop free to the community!  People attending were encouraged to download NodeXL prior to the workshop and to bring a Windows laptop as well as any data sets they had and wanted to map. NodeXL is compatible with Microsoft Office 2007 and 2010 and Windows XP, Vista, and 7. NodeXL is not compatible with Microsoft Office 2003 or Office 2008 for Mac.  It is possible to rent a low cost virtual Windows machines from Amazon and access them on a Mac using remote desktop (see: How to run NodeXL on a connected Mac (or other platform) using Amazon EC2). Some users benefit from the companion book: Analyzing social media networks with NodeXL: Insights from a connected world.

The workshop provided a hands-on guide to extracting and analyzing a social network graph (with NO programming). Using examples from Twitter, YouTube, Email, flickr, and participant submissions, the steps needed to take a network graph from collection through analysis and visualization to insight we presented.  Attendees learned to tell stories about key people and groups using network visualizations. Participants received an introduction to social network analysis and NodeXL learning how to import network data; create and generate an actionable insight from a network map.

NodeXL is available from: and is a project managed by the Social Media Research Foundation with generous support from the Microsoft Research External Research Projects Group.

Friday, January 28, 2011
9:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Hartnell College
411 Central Ave
CALL 208 (Center for Assessment and Lifelong Learning)
Salinas, CA

An agenda is below and full workshop description is available at:

The workshop is free; however space is limited to 60.

A continental breakfast will be provided.

Participants are responsible for purchasing $1.00 Hartnell College parking permit.

The CALL Building is near the parking structure on Central Avenue near Villa Street.


Morning session:

Introduction to social network analysis, examples and use of social network maps, intro to NodeXL.

Introduction to the history of social network analysis – how to “think link“.

Core vocabulary: node/vertex, link/tie/relationship, degree, centrality, core/periphery, bridge, hole, density.

Thinking by seeing.- Visualizing networks: pictures of collections of connections.

Networks are everywhere: biological, commercial, social, technical. How to extract the networks around you: how to build your own “edge list”.

Living in a sea of tweets, links, likes, views, reads, ratings, reviews, comments, connections, tags, ties, edits, plays, check-ins, contacts, friends, follows, favorites, Networks are newly self-documenting: machine readable connections now comprise the majority of our connections with one another, making our social worlds more available to analysis than ever before.

Introduction to NodeXL: mechanics of getting a graph open, analyzed and visualized.

Hands-on: how to analyze a social graph. Using examples from Twitter, YouTube, Email, flickr, and participant submissions, we take a graph from collection through analysis and visualization. Telling stories about key people and groups with network visualizations.

Afternoon session:

Extracting networks that matter to your organization: defining the nature of the nodes and edges in a graph is the fundamental question in network analysis. Who are the people, organizations, processes, entities that matter to you and how are they tied, connected, or linked? How to query your existing logs and data sets to extract useful network graphs.

Decorating network graphs: using size, color, transparency, visibility, images, and location to better tell a story with a network graph.

Filtering a network: revealing key structures and nodes. Use dynamic filters to remove edges and nodes from the graph to reveal only those who meet specific criteria. Use a range of attributes to limit the graph to remove clutter and occlusion.

Scheduling regular data collection with NodeXL. A guide to using the free and open data collector to schedule the creation of network data sets on a regular automatic basis.

Future directions for NodeXL: time series and graph comparison, additional data sources, web interfaces.

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