Google Ripples: Social network analysis in real time

Google Plus has recently added a new feature to every post: “View ripples“. Click on the drop down menu (arrow down) next to a post and look for the last menue item “view ripples”. In order for this functionality to work a post had to be shared (at least once) by other readers. The result is an instant social network analysis: starting with the original poster as the node in the middle with his outdegree connections indicating each node who has reshared the post out to his or her own network.

Besides the really neat network graphic, Google Plus also offers a few descriptive statistics, such as the names of those who serve as “influencers” in the network and the number of times their own repost was shared, plus a few numbers such as average (chain) path length (the number of times the post was reshared), the longest chain, and the shares/hour. Google calls the influencers in the network “sharing hubs”. The only downside I see right now is that you can’t ripple your own posts. Too bad!

Here is a public post by Pete Cashmore, founder of Mashable.com, including those of his public followers who shared the post and the descriptive statistic at the bottom of the page:

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About Ines Mergel

I am Full Professor of Public Administration at the Department of Politics and Public Administration at University of Konstanz, Germany. Previously, I served as Assistant and then Associate Professor (with tenure) at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University, NY. In my research, I focus on informal social networks in the public sector and the adoption and diffusion of digital service innovations in government organizations. I teach classes on social media management, digital government, public management, and social network analysis.

3 thoughts on “Google Ripples: Social network analysis in real time

  1. Dear Ines,
    Can you recommend a simple, free graphing software for social networks? I’m looking to make visual representations of my interviewees, their organizations, partnerships, and social ties in the course of my research.

    I’m a PhD candidate at BU working on an organizational sociology-informed study of local charities in India, and stumbled on your website.

    Many thanks!
    Chris

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