Learning Social Net-thingy Computers Thing

So, after the How To Survive When You Re-enter the Real World conference I mentioned in my last post, I decided that becoming a social media-ist was something I was actually quite interested in.

Social Media-ist? Social Media-er? Internet Socialite? Online Network Maker?

Anyway, I’m interested in social media.

During the workshop I attended at the conference, the woman running it gave some suggestions on how to start working your way into the social media industry.

The two main ideas I took away were:

1. Use all of the social networks ever invented in the world ever. And get into gaming.

2. Learn some basic network analysis skills.

The first one was easy enough, if a little time consuming. I just signed up for every single social network I could find. You can now follow me on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, WordPress, Instagram, Pheed, Google+ and Tumblr.

I absolutely don’t recommend you follow me on all those platforms, because my ramblings and blurry photos don’t warrant that much attention, but the point is that if you wanted to you could.

The second one was a little harder.

I checked out coursera.com, a website that runs university courses online for free, and found a course called “Social Network Analysis” that was starting right then!

“Perfect,” I thought. “I can do social networks!”

I maybe should have read the course outline a little more closely.

Turns out there’s a lot of very complex numbers, words and computer programs involved in this course, and about four minutes into my first session I was already yelling “What?? Why are you spinning around, you crazy dots??”

The basic idea was that I stick a data file about character interactions in Les Miserables into this terribly complicated computer program called Gephi and use it to make an aesthetically pleasing visual representation of the data.

What the first analysis was meant to look like.

What the first analysis was meant to look like.

What my first analysis looked like.

What my first analysis looked like.

As you can see, I struggled a little bit with some of the computer-y bits, and my analysis looks like a big squishy mess.

Victor Hugo would be so mad.

After several attempts, however, I not only managed to analyse Les Mis, but also managed to do the first assignment, an analysis of my Facebook network.

There is a good chance that it’s all horrifically wrong and I will be asked to leave the imaginary classroom, but the fact that I managed to submit it at all was yesterday’s daily triumph.

Today, pretty dots and lines; tomorrow, social mediaism! Social mediaology! Social med…. Ah, you know what I mean.

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