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Social Network Theory & Analysis


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An interactive presentation on social network theory and analysis. Content includes information on tie formation and social capital. Network relations are explained by using the example of The A Team. Granovetter's Strength of Weak Ties Theory (1973) is also covered and weak ties and strong ties are explained. Appropriate application of social network theory to individuals understanding how to best take advantage of social networking platforms to find jobs as well as companies taking advantage of social media platforms to find followers are introduced.

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Social Network Theory & Analysis

  1. 1. Social Network Theory and Analysis (…in 14 Easy Slides with The A Team) Susan Fant / / These Slides are for Educational Purposes Only – The University of Alabama Marketing Department MKT597: Digital & Social Media Marketing Fall Semester 2013 (Image: Facebook Data Science)
  2. 2. Social Network Theory • Two types of network theory (we will analyze) include: tie formation and social capital • These theories relate to becoming an “influencer” which is the future of marketing and advertising’s recommendation culture • If you understand network theory, you’ll understand the premise behind social network platforms (places) like Facebook, LinkedIn.
  3. 3. Patterns & Relations: Silicon Valley Social life is created by relations and the patterns formed by these relations. Traditional View: Silicon Valley is created by people with common edu. and expertise in a field. Source:
  4. 4. Social Network Theory’s Viewpoint Social Network Theory’s Viewpoint of Silicon Valley: Mobility between edu. institutions & employers create connections between organizations. Employees moving from one org to another bring expertise, knowledge, and connections to previous coworkers  this creates diverse sources of knowledge.
  5. 5. Three Approaches to Networks People in networks share common attributes: co-members, kinship etc. • Position Based: people located together hold formally defined positions (ex: Disney “cast member”) • Event Based: people participated together in key events (ex: students taking MKT597) • Relation Based: role relations (ex: teacher / student , parent / child)
  6. 6. Example: The A Team
  7. 7. I Pity the Fool (who doesn’t understand social network theory) • 1972 Commando Unit Wanted for a Crime they Didn’t Commit • Escaped from Military Court before Trial • Now Work Together to Support the Underdog and to Stay Undercover Connected in Multiple Ways: Position Based: Members of the Same Unit Event Based: Robbed the Bank of Hanoi Together Under Orders Relation Based: Roles – work together in the same undercover group under the direction of Lt. Col. John “Hannibal” Smith (leader / follower)
  8. 8. Social Network Analysis • Social Network Analysis requires an understanding of how independent people relate to each other, how people affect each other’s views and how they interact together. Examples: spending patterns, the economy, perceptions, opportunities, technology, joining clubs or organizations
  9. 9. Granovetter’s Strength of Weak Ties Theory
  10. 10. Weak Ties & Strong Ties
  11. 11. To Get a Job, Get in the Industry • The idea around social networks and clusters is to get a job in a field, start hanging out around people in that field. • People get jobs through acquaintances. – Join institutional clubs, organizations – Go to conferences – Meet people both online and offline • Individual Social Capital: people with more weak ties are more successful  they receive more novel information.
  12. 12. What is Novel Information? You’re looking for information from people you interact with infrequently. Novel Information = new ideas, highlighting new products, and discussing current events. Online social network platforms may increase the spread of novel information.
  13. 13. Facebook & Social Network Theory • People are more likely to share information from their strong ties, but because they have more weak ties – weak tie information is shared more often. • Information on Facebook is more diverse and novel. If your weak tie friend shares a company’s status, picture etc. you’re more likely to see it on your newsfeed. • The Bottom Line (for companies): Companies can access a follower’s weak ties to disseminate information to attract new followers and “likes.”
  14. 14. Questions?