Social Network Fragments- Background on "Mike" for Layout Example



The data about "Mike" is presented so that the reader can understand the subject whose data is being visualized.

Mike is a 24-year-old, gay-identified, white male. Born in northern California, Mike moved to the east coast to attend Yale University, where he studied art and computer science. Subsequently, Mike has moved to Boston to work for a small company that specializes in technological art installations. During his undergraduate years, Mike worked for a variety of technology companies in California, Texas and New York City. In addition to these jobs, Mike developed many websites for himself and a few for various research psychologists.

Alongside his technical work, Mike pursued his interested in various art forms, including printmaking, bookmaking and photography.
Mike has run in a variety of social circles over the years, some explicitly marked by temporary jobs/summer internships. Some of Mike's social circles can be labeled as:
· Family
· High school friends
· Undergraduate friends
· Gay men in Boston
· Gay men outside of Boston
· Boston work colleagues
· Texas work colleagues
· California work colleagues
· Gay men in New York City

Mike's interests include movies, bicycles, artistic expression (bookmaking, printmaking, photography), media & technology & the web, psychology and cooking. Mike is currently single and temporarily on leave from his job. Mike's closest friends are dispersed across large cities in the United States, including Boston, San Francisco, New York City and Chicago. Mike keeps in touch with his friends through email, telephone, instant messenger, and by occasional visits. Mike gathers his friends regularly, either to catch a movie or for a night of homemade crepes; these events are frequently organized using email and web invites.

Since 1996, Mike has collected all of the email messages that he has received and sent. Originally, he did this because it was easier to save everything than to determine what was valuable and what wasn't. Over time, Mike developed his own email program to manage the quantity of messages that he received. Because of this, he was able to manage an infinite number of email addresses. As such, he started assigning an address per function. For example, work related folks had one address while school related folks had another. More specifically, when he helped gay communities with web work, he gave them a new address. This articulation of email addresses allowed him to quickly determine how the individual contacting him knew him. Over time, Mike has been able to watch as particular circles gather around one email address, something that he noticed prior to our social networks conversation.

The dataset consists of 80,941 messages with 15,537 unique people. The dates on the messages range from 22 March 1997 to 20 November 2001. Prior to 2000, no listserv messages are kept in the dataset; since 2000, all messages received are kept. Both incoming and outgoing messages are used. Mike sent 24,064 messages and received 61,323 messages (with a 4,446 message overlap of messages sent from Mike to Mike for a variety of reasons, including testing his own email software, sending personal reminders, posting to listservs of which he is a member). Excluding individuals who only send Mike message through a listserv, Mike is knows or is aware of 7,250 unique individuals.

Awareness ties are not computed for listserv messages, nor are they computed for messages with more than 50 recipients. In the remaining data, we have constructed 622,078 ties. If we were to include awareness ties of messages with more than 50 recipients, the number of ties would explode to 11.7 million.

On average, a message has 1.03 recipients. 7,336 messages have more than two knowledge ties; 4,134 messages have more than three knowledge ties. An average message has 8.18 ties (where a message with one recipient has two ties).

Based on sent-messages, Mike has trusted 266 individuals by BCCing them in messages to others. Although the data suggests that Mike is trusted by 10,452 individuals, this is misleading; many of the messages that appear to BCC Mike while including other recipients are either spam or listserv messages. Yet, of the 266 individuals that Mike has trusted, 23 of them appear to trust him.

By looking at knowledge ties constructed from messages originating from Mike, we can see that he knows 2,618 unique people. Of those, he has sent more than one message to 1,409 of them; only 405 people have received more than 10 messages from Mike. Likewise, Mike is aware of 4,632 unique people.

Reversing this, we see that 2,620 individuals have knowledge ties to Mike and 3,921 have awareness ties to Mike.