Beth Granter

Freelance digital consultant for charities

Gephi social network visualisation

Hello! I just did my first social network visualisation. Using Gephi, on recommendation from my colleague Ollie Glass. It was super easy! Gephi is free and is a piece of software like Photoshop which runs on PC or Mac. It also has a really nice tutorial, which I ran through straight away with no problems using their demo network/graph file.

But I wanted to do something with my own data. Firstly, to do the obvious. It’s been done many times but I wanted to make my own, editable network graph, of my Facebook network.

I managed to download my Facebook network graph file using the  netvizz facebook app as suggested by this blog post, which also looks useful but I haven’t read it all yet.

Simply opened that in Gephi and did the same method as in the tutorial, to see the groups of my friends and how they relate. I filtered it so smaller groups are not shown, and individuals with no mutual friends were not shown.

Although saving to SVG should have been able to be edited in Illustrator, that failed and Illustrator only opened a blank page. So, I saved as PDF and opened that PDF in Illustrator, to add my own labels to the groups.

Here’s the result! I’ve included the big file so you can zoom in to see the detail if you click it.

My Facebook network. Click to see a big version.

Beth Granter's Facebook network

Big blobs are those with more ‘connectedness’. This doesn’t necessarily mean more mutual friends, it’s to do with shortest distance between different nodes.

Update: I did a better version, this time where blob size does reflect number of mutual friends. I also increased gravity and played with the repel and attract numbers.

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