Friends

Grad school is marked by long periods of isolation and silence. To make up for a lack of social life (and skills), I, like many others, resort to creating semblances of social circles through social networking sites like Facebook. In doing research for a paper I’m working on, I am reading up on network theory and happened upon some software that allows me to export my friends list from FB with all of the internal connections between them. UICNET (http://www.analytictech.com/ucinet/) is a small but powerful program designed to perform social network analysis. Basically, it takes all the connections between people you know and is able to draw them for display using a number of criteria. The raw list read into it ends of looking like this:

I have approximately 300 friends, most of which I actually know. Using a neutral criteria for display, I can see distinct groups from various points of my life. There’s an EMU group in the bottom right corner, a University of Michigan Group on the left, and a huge clump of people that are mostly music related, i.e. pre-grad school. Within the pre-grad school group, I can see distinct clouds of varying time points, Boston, Noise related folks, Mississippi folks and some others. There are some isolates, basically people I know from various disconnected events such as the time I spent in Germany and students of mine from JCC, among others. I find it interesting that Joe Kacemi is my bridge from UM to my cloudy music world. Thom Klepach is my link from EMU to my music cloud. Without Thom and Joe, there would not be a single link between pre-grad school music world and my grad school life.

Using the software to isolate 6 specific “Factions” within the entire list I am able to produce this:

Now, it’s much more clear. There is one group of complete isolates, a random bag that combines Boston and EMU, some odd group consisting of people that I rarely talk to, a Mississippi group, a University of Michigan group, a collection of msuic related people that I knew from Boston and San Francisco (basically, 99-2002) and a group of Michigan music people. Mostly, it makes sense in the grand scheme of my life. The amalgam of Boston, EMU  and Canada is quite strange, however. I think that the level of connections between the major music-related groups is fascinating. The program divides them up into two distinct factions, despite the large number of connections between the two.

Finally, I did an eignevalue analysis and got this one:

The only reason I present this is because, oddly, all three members of Wolf Eyes appear to form the base of the organized list. I’m not sure why. Basically, according to this, all of my social relationships start with Aaron Dilloway.

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About Pete Larson

Assistant Professor of Epidemiology at the Nagasaki University Institute for Tropical Medicine

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