A Social network is a network structure who’s nodes are made upof people and organizations.
SocialNetworkAnalysis is both a quantitative visualization, and qualitative analysis of different ways these people and organizations connect.
Typically these connections are based on data about:
Information/collaboration flow network view=Questions that define network views: Who do you typically communicate/collaborate/work with? who do you typically turn to for what type of information? (So, this is who do you communicate with, but zoomed in on what you communicate about relavant to the problems you are trying to solve).
Awareness network view=Question: Who understands and values whose knowledge and expertise in the network (plus, what is the actual range of knowledge of each person, so that you can see what people are missign in their assessment of other people’s knowledge and expertise)? Access network view=Question: who has direct access to whom within the network?
Combined Awareness and Access view: Both knowledge of who knows what, and access to those people must be present for knowlede/information sharing to be effective. Combined view=Potential of person to obtain information/ knowledge from others in the network when faced with a new problem.
These are the types of views that SNA practicioners are using as a basis for networks within organizations.
Once you get these views, you can use them, for instance, to help create conditions for communicaiton of relavant infromation, and to improve people’s ability to rapidly solve new problems that emerge, by giving them access to people,and helping them know who has the knowledge they need.
The data collected for these views is typically done through surveys, and inerviews.
SocialMapApril2006 is an example of a social network view from an organizations-connected-by-people perspective, which is not discussed above, but is none the less just as valuable a way to visualize social networks.
SocialNetworkSecurity - Deeply related, but from a security perspective
http://del.icio.us/srose/social_network_analysis a set of links abou this subject