***** To join INSNA, visit http://www.insna.org ***** Hello All, Is there anyone doing SNA on meth cooks, users and precursor buyers and their networks..I am doing such research and would like a co-author who is also doing work in this area...I have data! Thankyou James Steward President/CEO P&S Consulting Inc 812-235-4847 812-249-6156 cell [log in to unmask] www.psconsultinginc.com From: Scott Allen <[log in to unmask]> Reply-To: Scott Allen <[log in to unmask]> To: [log in to unmask] Subject: Re: The hype goes on: MySpace & Business Date: Mon, 9 Oct 2006 18:26:33 -0500 ***** To join INSNA, visit http://www.insna.org ***** Don wrote: > There are some who take a "network centric" view of networks, but there > is huge research in ego networks, or how the networks appear to an > individual inside of them. I read everything I could get my hands on about ego networks in the course of writing our book -- Borgatti, Everett, Hanneman, Burt, et al. But "huge"? Google turns up less than 10,000 results on the phrase "ego network", and very, very few of those are actual research papers, rather than just brief mentions or definitions, and much of that is extremely recent. But... to clarify my original point, even the research on ego networks is research on ego networks in aggregate. By that, I mean that it is the study of the ego networks of large numbers of people, attempting to quantify their ego networks in some way, then draw conclusions from the quantitative analysis. What I'm talking about is the personal, subjective viewpoint of the individual, and a look at their practices as part of their daily lives. An experiential point of view, rather than an external analytical one. > There are many papers and other work about how diversity of > social networks influences success in this area. Wayne Baker, Andrew > Hargadon and many more. Since solo businesses do not have proximity > determined by management, they need to be MORE aware of social networks. We quote Baker extensively in our book -- I'll have to look up Hargadon. Don -- I'm NOT saying they don't need to be aware of social network concepts. We have an extensive section in our book explaining the basics of social networks, another on structural holes, and so on. That doesn't mean it's practical for the solo businessperson to go perform a social network analysis of the various groups in which he participates. > You seem to be arguing that it is easier to sell simple, one dimensional > platitudes in the form of stories to the people who want to do the least. No, I'm arguing that there are more factors to a good solution than correctness. Cost, return on investment, acceptable levels of risk, speed/timing, political considerations and other human factors -- all are part of the business decision process. And sometimes, the simpler solution is better precisely because it's simpler, even if it's not completely accurate. It is often cheaper to be wrong and correct it than to make sure you're right the first time. The computer software industry operates on this principle. If they didn't it's unlikely they'd ever get a product out the door. This is often a sticking point for scientists, who will want to do it correctly, regardless of the budgetary and time constraints. I respect that. We need people who think like that. But there will always be a tension between that and the other constraints of business. > It really seems like you are totally unfamiliar with the idea of > networks. I'll try not to take that personally, Don, but I think that's an unfair statement. I admittedly have far less academic and research experience in this area than most of the people on this list. But I have far more than the vast majority of businesspeople or the general public. I routinely read this list and any papers that come up in my Google alerts about social networks. I have read many of the major books on the topic. Don't tell me I'm ignorant -- just correct me. :-) > Humans constantly make errors about causation...You can claim that so and > so did such and such on MySpace and that because of it his business got > better, but how are we to know that is the real and only reason? We don't. But to the person sitting there thinking, "How can I market my business on MySpace?", all that matters is that it probably makes the odds better than what they're doing now. Like you said -- it's so hard to determine causation in a social setting. Can formal SNA do it 100%? Or does it simply bump up the statistical significance a bit? The person who reads the story, gets an idea how they can apply it to their situation, takes action on it, and sees results... doesn't care. > If something worked one year, why would we assume it would work the next? Why would you assume it wouldn't? You don't know it's going to work -- again, it's impossible to deterministically predict outcomes precisely in a human network. So what you do is you try it again, but observing as you do, looking for indications of unexpected results, then adjusting your actions based on new input. > What is a "thought leader" except the opinion of someone who uses the > word? Your argument is a tautology. Though leaders are people who are > called thought leaders. Were there to be a process such as you describe > and a measurable network effect that was identified as "thought leader" > and the two corresponded, that would be interesting, because it would > HINT that their might be some relation between cognition and network > position. Point taken. What I was suggesting was that the results of the two methods would a) likely be similar, and b) there would be no way to verify either result against some abstract "truth". The real answer to the question, from the businessperson's perspective, is once you contact those 100 people and engage them, what's the ROI on your marketing efforts? BTW, I think that what you suggest would be really, really fascinating, and if anyone here is ever interested in undertaking that research, I'd love to be a part of it. > You sent me your book and I commented on it early on. I have told you > then and I will tell you now that I think that you take a narrow, > instrumental view of networks. Your goal is to sell things and to > expand the base of contacts a person has to sell more things. There is > nothing wrong with that, but there is a whole lot more to networks and > knowledge of networks than that. Unquestionably. And thank you for your input on our book. The subtitle of our book is "opening doors and closing deals online", so I don't think there's any pretense in what our purpose was. What started this conversation was Moses' question about why businesspeople look at phenomena like MySpace and identify social networks with that. I was attempting to offer a business perspective on the answer to that. And the business view of networks is generally going to be instrumental/utilitarian. One minor clarification... while "selling things" is certainly one possible instrumental use of networks, there are many others, which our book covers as well: finding a job, hiring employees, finding strategic partners, achieving your personal and career goals, etc. > There are lots of things businesspeople can do that work at levels below > the analytic. And this is where the academic/research community can get more recognition for your work from the business community. So where's the blog, where are the articles in mainstream business magazines, etc., talking about this stuff? This list is an echo chamber. Take advantage of the network bridges into the business community, into these social networking sites, etc. > Sorry if I am being brutal, Scott. Only once, briefly -- the rest is all constructive dialogue. > I also think that network thinking and the things we are learning can > greatly help both businesses and individuals and I hate to see attempts to > take a small subset reduced to the lowest common denominator presented as > all there is for practical purposes. Well, it certainly wasn't my intent to do that. I'm here because I'm fascinated by the topic, and I've been reading and thinking along these lines for about seven years. If I personally thought this were all irrelevant, I wouldn't be on this list, I wouldn't be engaging in this dialogue, and we wouldn't have devoted a chapter of our book to it. What I hope comes of this is perhaps a better understanding of the business perspective on the topic, which may lead people here to new lines of thinking about what research even gets done, what kind of findings to look for, how to publish and disseminate those findings, and how to help business implement real-world solutions based on those findings. Again, my virtual door is wide open. If anyone has a working paper and would like to get a business perspective on it, send it my way. Scott Allen 512-215-9720 http://LinkedIntelligence.com http://TheVirtualHandshake.com http://Entrepreneurs.About.com -Don _____________________________________________________________________ SOCNET is a service of INSNA, the professional association for social network researchers (http://www.insna.org). 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