A design and policy proposal for improving the democratic quality of social media Marc Smith…
Think Link: Connecting to the power of (social media) networks with NodeXL
Our initial NodeXL book was very popular with college instructors and many individual researchers, practitioners, and scholars interested in networks, social networks, and social media networks. After two print runs of the first NodeXL book have been sold, we now intend to target this same audience again, with a renewed focus on actionable insights that can be gained by applying network analysis to a range of datasets. NodeXL and the world has changed a lot in the past four years and there is a lot of new ground to cover!
Readers of this volume should learn core theoretical/methodological network concepts from your chapter through grounded and practical applications with enough detail provided that they can perform them on their own. You should assume your reader has only limited prior knowledge of network analysis.
We are assembling a collection of five types of chapters: Feature, Method, Platform, Domain, and Task.
- Feature chapters focus on the technical details of operating specific features of NodeXL. Derek and I plan to create updated descriptions of all the features in the latest versions of NodeXL. These are similar to chapters 4-7 of the old NodeXL book (which was linked to NodeXL v.113), but updated to reflect the many new features in NodeXL (which just released v.322).
- Method chapters are focused on the application of NodeXL to a particular kind of analytic approach, for example semantic network analysis.
- Platform chapters focus on specific sites and services like Facebook, YouTube, flickr, Twitter, Wikis, Blogs, WWW, Sina Weibo, vKontakte, Odnoklassniki, and email. These chapters describe the service and define the networks within each platform. Highlight the insights and analytic observations possible when using networks from the focal platform.
- Domain chapters focus on the use of NodeXL within an established research area, like Digital Humanities, Social Movements, Political opinion, or Education and learning analytics. These chapters demonstrate the application of NodeXL to generate useful research insights in these domains.
- Task chapters focus on the detailed description of how to perform a common task in NodeXL, like “Find influential participants in a network”, “Identify key topics and web resources used in a network”. These are the most practically oriented chapters that describe the steps needed to generate a specific analytic result.
We plan to have the first major Feature chapters done in draft in Fall 2014 for informal review by select instructors. We hope to receive chapters from our first contributors starting in late November. We seek to make our first publication in early 2015. We plan to receive additional chapters and release them in small batches quarterly after that.
We plan to release on the Amazon and iTunes book platforms. Amazon offers print-on-demand as well as electronic copies of the book. The book will have an ISBN.
While optimistic, we plan to generate the first set of Feature, Methods, and Domain chapters by the end of 2014. We’d like your manuscript by end of October in order for post production to have time to process the document. Chapters that come in after this deadline can be shifted to the second volume which will follow a quarter later.
Below you will find detailed descriptions of each type of chapter along with an outline of the body of each.
We look forward to receiving your contribution and have high hopes for the impact of the collected volume!
Editors: Think Link: Connecting to the power of (social media) networks with NodeXL
Book Chapter Template(s)
Each chapter will follow a similar structure, though the “BODY” section will differ depending on the type of chapter. The basic outline is as follows:
An introduction to the platform, method, domain, or task that will be the focus of the chapter. This should explain the goals of the chapter, what is covered in the chapter, and why it’s important.
This will differ depending on the type of chapter and can include subheadings as you deem appropriate. See sections below on sample outlines for the different templates.**
Often there is an important concept that is ancillary to the main content, but would be useful to readers. These can be separated into a sidebar. Examples include: a summary of a classic paper on the topic (or tracing of the history of a subtopic), a description of an important, but ancillary concept (e.g., relationship of recommender systems to item-item graphs), an advanced topic (e.g., working with the Twitter API), or a useful technique (e.g., how to use formulas in Excel to accomplish X common task).
A summary of key concepts covered in the chapter. This should feel a bit like a textbook summary in that it is somewhat comprehensive and a reader could look over it to make sure they understood what was covered. (See old NodeXL book for examples.)
This should identify active areas of research and promising areas of future research. (See old NodeXL book for examples.)
This should include 5-12 core resources on the topic. These may include books, journal/conference articles, online resources (e.g., datasets), videos, etc. Each one should include a 1-3 sentence description of the resource. Why is it recommended? What is covered? What expertise level is it at? Try and organize these in the order someone may want to read them (e.g., general overview resources for novices moving to more advanced treatments for experts).
This should include 3-5 discussion question that would inspire college-age students to discuss in a classroom setting.
Should include 2-3 substantive exercises that could be given as an assignment to students who have just read the chapter. For example, in the Facebook chapter you may have an assignment that reads: “Identify at least 3 different networks found within the Facebook platform. For each of the 3, characterize the type of network (unimodal, bimodal; directed, undirected; weighted or unweighted) and list one question you could address by analyzing that network.” Exercises can rely on specific datasets, which we will make available on the NodeXL Codeplex Wiki.
Should describe the ways that commercial organizations can apply the methods described in the chapter. Can the approach be applied to understanding collections of business documents, the structure of business organizations, or provide insight into a brand’s marketing? Describe the ways a business can apply these insights to grow market, address customer complaints, track competitor activity, identify demand for possible product features, and connect with influential voices.
VENDORS AND COMMERCIAL RESOURCES:
Identify and describe the tools, products, and services that are available for applying this method or technique. Are there products, consulting firms, or services that can be purchased to achieve goals similar to the ones described in your chapter?
Provide a brief biographical sketch along with a short narrative that describes your path to the topics in your chapter along with key training or skills you developed that enabled the work.
Chapter Body Outlines
Below is a proposed outline for the BODY of each of the types of chapters.
- Feature chapters. The body will be organized into sub-sections based on related features of NodeXL (e.g., visual properties, dynamic filtering). They will be presented in a tutorial style so readers can follow along with sample data sets and exercises.
- Method chapters. Should include multiple subsections that cover the details of the method(s) discussed in the chapter. Subsections should explain the theory/math/algorithms that underlie the method, then walk through an example of how it can be used to gain an actionable insight. For example, a chapter on Semantic Network Analysis would explain the concept of connections between words, the application of network metrics to highlight the key concepts, and the use of these techniques in the study of collections of documents. Each core concept would be illustrated with an example that readers could follow along with, grounded in a practical objective that a practitioner may want to perform (e.g., identify the new terms that have emerged in recent months). Each example should briefly discuss the objective, data collection / dataset, analysis and visualization techniques used, and the results.
- Platform chapters focus on specific sites and services like Facebook, YouTube, flickr, Twitter, Wikis, Blogs, WWW, Sina Weibo, vKotakte, Odnoklassniki, and email. These chapters describe the service and define the networks found within it. Chapters should include 2-3 example analyses that are particularly important to the platform of interest. Each example should include an objective (the purpose of the analysis – e.g., find most important information disseminators), data collection, analysis and visualization techniques used, and the results.
- Domain chapters focus on the use of NodeXL within an established research area, like Digital Humanities, Political opinion, Social Movements, or Education and learning analytics. These chapters demonstrate the application of NodeXL to generate useful research insights in these domains. The body may be organized around an in-depth case study, or if applicable, smaller example analyses that fall within the realm of the domain. If using the large case-study approach, it will include a characterization of the purpose of the overall analysis, a methods section that describes data collection and any related methods used, a findings section that provides details on how to perform certain analysis (e.g., in sidebars), not just the results, and a discussion section that states the implications of the findings on the domain. Alternatively, if you don’t have a single broad case-study, you can provide 2-3 examples of techniques used within the domain using the format: objective (what was the purpose of the analysis), data collection, analysis and visualization techniques used, and results.
- Task chapters focus on the detailed description of how to perform a common task in NodeXL, like “Find influential participants in a network”, “Identify key topics and web resources used in a network”. These are the most practically oriented chapters that describe the steps needed to generate a specific analytic result. They should include several examples of different ways to approach the task, each of which restates the objective (which may be a bit more specific than the overall topic of the chapter – e.g., “identify information dissemination hubs” as opposed to the chapter which may be on the more general “find influential participants in the network”), data collection, analysis and visualization techniques, and results.
Detailed Chapter Outlines
In the following a more detailed outline of each of the types of chapters is provided. We encourage authors to start with these templates and add content and modify them as needed to fit your topic. While modifications are welcome, the general structure of all the chapters should be fairly standardized to allow different chapters to retail a common style and structure. Most importantly, if you are providing an example in your chapter body, make sure you clearly state the objective (e.g., purpose of the analysis), data collection, analysis and visualization techniques, and results.
Feature Chapter Body Section Outline
Focus on features of NodeXL
Introduction: Short intro of what’s covered in the chapter
Tutorial-style walk-through that introduces features via examples
Platform Chapter Body Section Outline
Focus on a specific platform (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Wikis, Blogs….)
Introduce platform: History, development, importance, usage, aspects of interest
Describe networks present in platform pointing to relevant background literature (e.g., What are the vertices, what are the edges?)
Mini case study 1
Objective (e.g., find thought leaders in Twitter network), data collection, analysis & visualization technique(s), results.
Mini case study 2
Same as above, but with different objective
(optionally Mini case study 3)
Methods Chapter Body Section Outline
Focus on specific method such as text analysis, diffusion, time series, optimal visualizations
Introduce method(s): History, development, importance, usage
Organize into appropriate sections to cover different aspects of method
Example use of method 1: Objective (e.g., identify how conversation changes over time), data collection, analysis & visualization technique(s), results.
Example use of method 2: Same as above, but with different objective
(optional example use of method 3)
Task Chapter Body Section Outline
Focus on tasks such as find influential people, find top topics, compare two networks
Introduce core task: Why people perform the task (e.g., identify influentials), how it fits into organizations and companies, what it can and can’t do
Background on task, citing relevant literature
Example use of task 1: Objective (e.g., identify people important in disseminating information), data collection, analysis & visualization technique(s), results.
Example use of task 2: Same as above, but with different objective
(optional example use of method 3)
Domain / Case Study Chapter Body Section Outline
Focus on specific domain such as digital humanities, Immigration, politics, healthcare, etc.2014-BookThinkLink-ChapterOutline
Introduce application/domain area: History, development, importance, usage, aspects of interest and why a network perspective is used to analyze application area (e.g., social movements; education analytics)
Describe specific case you’re analyzing (if applicable): e.g., which social movement are you going to present on
Methods: Describe data collection, etc.
Analysis and Findings (with appropriate sub-sections): What did you find with pointers to how you analyzed the data, not just the results
Discussion of findings: What do your findings say about the topic at hand (e.g., social movements) and why did a network perspective help uncover that