521.3.1 – Visual Network Mapping

Originally published May 31, 2021. Backdated for public readers.

In today’s post, I am exploring a visual representation of my network connections. I started with a basic drawing illustrating the numerous groups and networks I have been involved in throughout my life. I then contrast that understanding with a more sophisticated representation of my connections powered by Kumu and data from my LinkedIn profile.

The hand-drawn illustration was an interesting, albeit quick, way to wrap my mind around how the groups and networks I engage with are interconnected. Although it is now represented in chronological order, with my family and grade school connections at the top and the more recent connections lower down, I find it interesting that in my first draft, I started in the present moment, building back from my current position as an employee of Cycling BC. I also represented unexpected changes or non-traditional career paths by perpendicular changes in the flow of the connection bubbles. For example, jumping into university or professional cycling represented a large shift in my life plan. However, I have been fortunate to build a wonderful collection of contacts throughout my studies and professional activities, the quality and interconnectedness of which is difficult to illustrate in a hand-drawing.

Next up is the Kumu-powered visualization of my social networks and groups. Although it did not turn out as I was hoping, it did illustrate how my social network has grown chronologically. Whether it is because I exported the incorrect dataset from my LinkedIn profile or did not manually input enough tags for each member of my community, Kumu does illustrate how my network has changed based on the date of new connections.

Since networks are classified as open and free to join, yet LinkedIn requires you to ‘approve’ connection requests, in LinkedIn a network? Or perhaps an intersection between a network and a group, also known as a Community of Practice (Dron & Anderson, 2014).

What do you think?

To learn more about the definitions of the above terms, please review my most recent post here.

References:

Dron, J, & Anderson, T. (2014). Teaching Crowds. Athabasca University Press.

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