• From Sociometry to Social Network Analysis

From Sociometry to Social Network Analysis

25 June 2019

I have always been fascinated by the application of Sociometry since my study in the Department of Social Psychology at Dago Pojok until now, as a sociological survey method invented by Jacob Raise Moreno. This method is not complicated. With a simple design of question items, we are able to create diagrams that describe functional or emotional relationships between people in a social environment. At that time with computational limitations, the most complicated simple calculation was calculating the group cohesiveness formula.

As time went on and I studied data science and programming, it was very interesting when I combined sociogram graph theory with computing through software programming that enabled social studies about group behaviour and relationships created among people to be more powerful and meaningful.

Psychodramatic analysis of social roles through the use of graphs and matrices places me, perhaps for the first time in my short career as a student in social psychology, something that is advantageous compared to my colleagues who studied other sciences. When I tried to integrate computer science and statistics with social psychology, the direction was clearer towards Moreno's role theory.

Let's give an example! With a simple questionnaire that each member of the group or organisation must show in order of priority, three colleagues with whom he interacts more in the emotional, operative, and equally important fields, to get interesting matrices or diagrams which describe functional and emotional stories.

Sociograms can clearly reveal who is the emotional leader, or an isolated individual, and who are the "functional" reference point, as well as the subgroups within the organisation.

Some of the information provided by a simple questionnaire allows us to analyse, evaluate and consider groups and the existence of emotional or functional subgroups, roles, trends, lack of communication, relationships and sensitivity.

Today, thirty years after my awareness rised, I see Sociometry as the "starting point" of a far more complex process, as networks provide us with a nearly unlimited amount of information to analyse from a social perspective and an unlimited number of "Virtual groups "such as the web, with portals, blogs, chat, and above all, social networking, go far beyond a very wide network, which now provides an opportunity to analyse trends, tastes, opinions, research, purchases, etc.

Google and Facebook have a lot of information. They can monitor our personal behaviour, record our affairs, analyse how individuals (and groups) communicate with each other, know what we post and then they interlock this information with age, origin, geolocalisation and others.

Relational stories, which are the number of relationships between people, have increased disproportionately because of the inherent facilities in this new communication tool. Today, for internet users, it's fairly simple to join groups which share the same interests. It is often said that the web is participatory and collaborative/cooperative. I also need to note that because autophonic systems are based on technological infrastructure that is characterised by strict boundaries and rules, it is possible to track behaviour, relationships, emotions and memorise everything with data based.

Data, in large numbers, can be broken down and converted into statistics, matrices, diagrams or sociograms. Very large amounts of data to determine the creation of a term that is very useful for defining an information universe called "Big Data".

In fact, it is clear how behaviour analysis and group tendencies can reveal very different indications of individual behaviour analysis, massive analysis of "social" actions carried out at the "global level" on the internet, can determine something extraordinary and unexpected informative capital gains.

The presence of this information in monumental databases is supported by increasingly structured, comparative, complex, versatile, multi-faceted, intelligent, fast computer procedures. Today, social network analysis, viewed as a behaviour analysis and social network, can be applied to an informative legacy, can be analysed through "Big Data", available because of the internet and other scientific contributions, such as statistics and Computer Science.

My task in this matter is to resolve semantic misconceptions about the origin of the name. Analysis of social networking was created long before "social networking", with anthropological goals to calm/sort out methodologically, relational stories presented in real life.

It is true that SNA does not conflict with social networks or the web itself. In the future, it is even possible to find actual consecration on "social" databases, informative bases that are able to provide real, extra conclusive values.

Presence on the internet portal and social thematic networks can represent further stimulus, allowing us to analyse behaviour and content not only in absolute terms, but also in certain terms, thematic, group.

Analysis based on a large amount of social content and behaviour developed online can really bring new and invisible trends, surpluses that are beneficial not only in commercial terms and compulsory consumption behaviour, but also with the aim of determining new social and cultural and dynamics anthropologist group.

Quality or quantity? Don't limit your analysis. Now, the main thing is to recognize the relevant potential presented by this unlimited database. The web is not only a large group of people communicating, but also ways to improve, analyse, and add information flow, a tendency to be better in the future. All behaviour is stored in it and therefore, can be analysed from a variety of perspectives and endless virtual psychodrama from which we can learn more things and perhaps anticipate something that will happen in the future. We hope that analysts, sociologists, social statisticians and computer technicians have succeeded in using this wealth to create sensitive tools that can comprehend social behaviour in a comprehensive and integrated manner.

Written by Heru Wiryanto - BDO Senior Technical Advisor

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