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The science (or the specific methodological toolbox) known as social 
network analysis has been around, as most of you know, for a long time - 
read Freeman's excellent overview for its pre-Internet-ian geneaology. 
The buzzword of social networking and the fairly recent hype in online 
web communities (Facebook/Myspace/whatever) could be a great energy 
boost and inspiration to the science of SNA - not only contributing with 
exciting new social landscapes and datasets to analyze using SNA tools 
but perhaps also as methodological inspiration.

But I don't think I'm the only one being somewhat worried about the 
future public standing of science-SNA when it explicitly has to be 
pointed out that there indeed can be social networks, and indeed social 
network analysis, in off-web social settings. Or is this how the 
situation was for the science of mathematical statistics when economics 
took a fancy for it in the early 20th century?


Benjamin Elbirt wrote:

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>Interestingly enough I did a little searching on the Internet and have found
>that there are now 2 social networks... depending on who you ask.  There is
>"Social Networking Applications" such as MySpace and the like and then there
>is the science of "Social Networks."
>If you do a Google search of the term Social Networks you will find there is
>a pretty even split (and equal distribution) in links that point to both
>definitions.  My comment about the site (which I was not aware was THAT big,
>but knew it was big) is mainly because the science is being overshadowed
>rapidly by the commercial aspect; something I am sad to see.
Carl Nordlund, BA, PhD student
Human Ecology Division, Lund university

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