Social Network Analysis [SNA] is NOT Social Media Analytics [SMA].

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A few days ago I posted a question on LinkedIn asking about tools people use for Social Network Analysis [SNA] and got bunch of responses talking about Social Media Analytics tools. I decided to write about both to clarify the confusion.

Social Media Analytics and Measurements will help you to get answers to the following questions [examples]:

– how much traffic you are driving and from where;

– how effective is your messaging?

– Sentiments analysis;

– Loyalty: # of RSS subscribers and your repeat traffic;

– etc.

Jon Samsel listed all the main tools used for Social Media Measurements and Analysis in his blog post.

Now let’s look at what type of questions we can answer using Social Network Analysis:

– how highly person is connected within a network?

– How important person is within a network?

– How central person is within a network?

– How does information flow within a network?

– Etc.

Main tools from this category are listed in Wikipedia.

Hope this post will be helpful to folks who got somewhat confused.. SNA is not SMA. Both should be used to analyze different aspects of social media engagements and social networks within and outside four walls of your company.

We will deep dive into both topics at the upcoming event in Bay Area: Social Media Strategies, where I will be moderating panels on both of them.

It will be great if you can send me your questions in advance – we’ll try to cover them during our panel discussions!

5 COMMENTS

  1. Hello Tatyana,

    Catching your drift on this. I had the same experience within my organization a couple of weeks ago. Some people where indeed mixing up SNA and SMA. I also wrote an blogpost about the differents between the two techniques which can be additional to yours.

    Feel free to take a look at:
    http://www.visitorintelligence.org/social-network-analysis/

    For social media analysis and monitoring I recently built a social media monitoring tool myself. With this tool you can track and monitor in 1 click of a button, your URL social media exposure on more than 20 top social media sites. Among the crawled social websites are; social news, bookmarking, networks, file / video sharing, review sites, etc.

    It would be great if you could testdrive it. Please let me know your thoughts and opinion;

    http://www.socialwebsiteanalyzer.com

    Good luck and keep up the good work.
    Erwin

  2. Hi –

    Your intentions are good, but IMO you are creating more confusion.

    SNA is a robust, academically sound mathematical analysis technique use for over a half-century by scientists and scholars worldwide.

    Around 2005 “social media” was the new name ascribed to Web and Internet based content and interaction. Our action/research cluster popularized the term in London at the world’s first SM summit.

    So-called ‘social media analysis’ is simple Web analytics. It has be around for about 15ys.

    SNA has been applied to computer and content networks for 40 years. It is nothing new. It is very effective.

    Today, social media network analytics has been shaped from both fields and is now a popular, fast-growing practice discipline. See:

    http://www.futureofnetworks.com/futureofnetworks/BAN10.htm

    -j

  3. @John I agree – there is indeed a lot of confusion and the tendency to even more confusion is rather obvious. More so. the terms you are using Tatyana like “efficiency of messaging” or “driving traffic” is a traditional marketing aspect and almost counter to what social media is trying to do.

    Years ago I stopped worrying about “traffic” simply because traffic is nothing but IP addresses, recorded in our weblog. Not very social ;-). Then “messaging” again is an old world term where a company defined a “message” and tries to blow it into a market – again not very social. So I would question those responses you received from the question on LinkedIn.

    However you raise an interesting point: Is social media analysis different from a social network analysis. I guess I will think about it more.

    Axel
    http://xeesm.com/AxelS

  4. Hi John,

    thanks for your comments. I did research on both subjects: SNA and SMA – and did about 5-6 workshops with Marc Smith on SNA, NodeXL – know how it is applied today for social media network analysis.

    Wanted to clarify your point – am I reading your last sentence correctly: you are saying that SMNA [social media network analytics] is a combination of SNA and SMA?

    Is there one tool as delivers both capabilities?

    Thanks!

  5. You mention, that SNA helps to answer questions like:
    “how highly person is connected within a network? How important person is within a network? How central person is within a network? How does information flow within a network?”.

    What makes a person “important” within the social media network?

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