OUseful.Info, the blog…

Trying to find useful things to do with emerging technologies in open education

So Where Am I Socially Situated on Google+?

I haven’t really entered into the spirit of Google Plus yet – I haven’t created any circles or started populating them, for example, and I post rarely – but if you look at my public profile page you’ll see a list of folk who have added me to their circles…

This is always a risky thing of course – because my personal research ethic means that for anyone who pops their head above the horizon in my social space by linking publicly to one of my public profiles, their public data is fair game for an experiment… (I’m also aware that via authenticated access I may well be able to find grab even more data – but again, my personal research ethic is such that I try to make sure I don’t use data that requires any form of authentication in order to acquire it.)

So, here’s a started for 10: a quick social positioning map generated around who folk who have added me to public circles on Google+ publicly follow… Note that for folk who follow more than 90 people, I’m selecting a random sample of 90 of their friends to plot the graph. The graph is further filtered to only show folk who are followed by 5 or more of the folk who have added me to their circles (bear in mind that this may miss people out because of the 90 sample size hack).

Who folk who put me in a g+ circle follow

Through familiarity with many of the names, I spot what I’d loosely label as an OU grouping, a JISC grouping, an ed-techie grouping and a misc/other grouping…

Given one of the major rules of communication is ‘know your audience’, I keep wondering why so many folk who “do” the social media thing have apparently no interest in who they’re bleating at or what those folk might be interested in… I guess it’s a belief in “if I shout, folk will listen…”?

PS if you want to grab your own graph and see how you’re socially positioned on Google Plus, the code is here (that script is broken… I’ve started an alternative version here). It’s a Python script that requires the networkx library. (The d3 library is also included but not used – so feel free to delete that import…)

Written by Tony Hirst

October 16, 2011 at 5:51 pm

Posted in Analytics

Tagged with ,

11 Responses

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  1. OK, I get:

    Traceback (most recent call last):
    File “/Users/ajcann/Desktop/Python/googPlusFrFo-preliminarySketch.py”, line 1, in
    import networkx as nx
    ImportError: No module named networkx

    How do I get networkx in Python (OS X)?


    AJ Cann

    October 17, 2011 at 12:24 pm

  2. Thanks, easy_install networkx worked.
    Do I have to do that each time or is the installation persistent?

    AJ Cann

    October 17, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    • @alan the library should be available ever more without the need to reinstall..

      Tony Hirst

      October 17, 2011 at 3:22 pm

  3. […] over where I’m situated on Google+, it occurred to me that I should probably start looking at cross-network networks…for […]

  4. […] information can be extracted from Google using an undocumented API. Tony followed this up with So Where Am I Socially Situated on Google+? in which he used a genius bit of Python scripting to extract a large fragment of his extended […]

  5. […] [See also: Getting Started With The Gephi Network Visualisation App – My Facebook Network, Part I and how to visualise Google+ networks] […]

  6. Nice graph. What program do you use to render graphml?


    March 3, 2012 at 7:21 pm

  7. […] Unlike Facebook – which limits users to seeing friendships between their friends (or, painfully in terms of API calls, test whether friendship connections appear between two specified individuals), or LinkedIn, which doesn’t let you get hold of any data about how your friends connect other than in graphical form using InMaps (Visualize your LinkedIn network with InMaps), Twitter makes friend and follower data publicly available (unless you have a protected account). (If you want to visualise your own Facebook network, here’s a recipe for doing so: Getting Started With The Gephi Network Visualisation App – My Facebook Network.) Google+ also makes an indivudal’s connection data public in a roundabout way, although not via an easily accessed API (to access the graph data as data, you need to scrape it, as described here: So Where Am I Socially Situated on Google+?). […]

  8. […] The tool we’re going to use to layout this graph from a data file is a free, extensible, open source, cross platform Java based tool called Gephi. If you want to play along, download the datafile. (Or try with a network of your own, such as your Facebook network or social data grabbed from Google+.) […]

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