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July 25, 2007



You do not need private data to do SNA, there is plenty of public data available for interesting analysis...




(Sorry about editing in your comment, but the post-new-comment function seems to be screwed up right now. See addendum to the main post - I'm looking for approaches to situations when a first person approach is required, not SNA apps or datasets in general.)


We (SmartFlix.com) are launching a new brand soon: Heavy-ink.com, which is a comic-book ecommerce site. We've done a fair bit of data gathering and analysis (http://heavyink.com/blog/?p=6), and have found that a very large percent of folks who buy comic books have as their biggest complaint that they don't have good recommendations, and don't know what the people who's taste they respect are reading. About 25% of folks report that they'd buy an extra 1-2 comic books per month if they had this data, and 50% report that they'd buy 5+ additional comic books per month if they had this.

Thus, a good recommendations system, a "friends" feature, and transparency into what others are reading is called for. We're workign hard on the system and hope to roll it out during October.

As someone who's never been hugely interested in social networking, and has been a bit suspicious of the utility it promises to deliver, it was fascinating to see in the cold, hard data that this sort of functionality is actually (well, OK, potentially) quite useful just for selling atoms.

Sean Murphy

I too am interested in tools to visualize what you know of your own network since omniscience is hard to come by. I think there is also a middle ground, where an app that supports partners or founders in a small firm who want to find some way to intelligently pool and interconnect their contacts (for the purposes of facilitating rain making for example) but would be loathe to have that info stored in LinkedIn or some 3rd party system. Clearly e-mail and calendars tools that could make inferences--subject to your review and approval--about your social network would be very useful. An again, I don't think a centrally hosted system here would be as well accepted.

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