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Ryan,

	I don't understand the question of networks having or not having
meaning.  It is like asking: do solar winds have meaning?  Does weather
have meaning?  We make maps of these things to see if we can find
patterns in them that allows to organize our information, communicate
our findings and make predictions.  Geographic maps can be topological
or political and many other choices and they can be in great detail or
little detail.  The weatherperson can say "today will be sunny," without
making a general comment on all weather.  Cat scans have meaning only
because they guide the health care practitioners to next steps, just
like a road map guides us on where to drive.

	I take the "social" in social network to mean "social objects" or
socially constructed things like cities, people and such.  There several
independent groups that came up with their own meanings of "social" and
it is not that important since computer networks are social networks.

-Don
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> 
> Valdis:
> 
> I wonder if it is a bit hopeful to compare a network diagram to a cat
> scan or X-ray...which may have inherent meaning.  In nature, at this
> wavelength, this is a recording of particles, etc.  I am not sure
> "social" can have inherent meaning.  Networks might.  Social networks, I
> doubt.    
> 
> I am not just trying to hammer on the social construction of SNA, but
> that it is inherently perspective-based--there are no networks--only
> DEFINITIONS of relationships.  Someone calls the shots--is the decider
> at the risk of sounding like our current president here in the US.  
> 
> It seems to me that the less description is used, the less valid the
> research because we cannot understand the biases of selection as well.  
> 
> As such, I would nominate as the best SNA book of the last 10
> years...Aihwa Ong's "Flexible Citizenship" (1999/Duke UP).  My guess is
> that is what SNA research will likely look like in the future.  In it,
> she begins to point out what it means to use identity and external
> perception as part of an ontology and to act a certain way--as
> Chinese--outside borders.  In short, she describes how social networks
> arise in one context--not unlike Claude Fischer a generation before.
> Funny that a similar book was not written about the British.
> 
> Ryan Lanham      
> 
> 
> 
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Social Networks Discussion Forum [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On
> Behalf Of Valdis Krebs
> Sent: Thursday, January 04, 2007 5:50 PM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: Recommender systems
> 
> *****  To join INSNA, visit http://www.insna.org  *****
> 
> I'm glad you like to type... I don't, so I will be brief.
> 
> I don't think we disagree... but it is hard to tell from your   l    
> o   o   o   o  n  g    post!  ;-)
> * we look at attributes of nodes and multiplex ties between them...  
> we filter the views with whatever variables make sense for this analysis
> * yes, networks can be sliced multiple ways and are... but some  
> patterns seem to repeat... clusters, core/peripheries, brokers,  
> isolates, etc.
> * yes, a network map has no inherent meaning... it is a talking  
> document to help those interested make sense of what is happening
> * just like an x-ray or cat-scan are not perfect tools, they are  
> useful... as is SNA facilitated by an experienced person
> 
> Valdis
> 
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