This is by no means a comprehensive list and the tools are presented in no particular order. I normally use one of each when visualizing Twitter chats, workshops, or conferences. These tools requires no programming knowledge and can be used by those in the social sciences. Recently, I have been exploring how network graphs can be used to better understand Health Communication on Twitter. I created a network graph for my Twitter network (@was3210) using each tool (clicking on the image will show a larger version in a separate window).
NodeXL is a Microsoft Excel Plugin. The software can be used to obtain data from Twitter, YouTube, and Flicker. NodeXL runs on Windows operating systems. Users can download graph options from the NodeXL graph gallery by navigating to the bottom of the page.
The GraphML file can then be imported into NodeXL, and using the automate feature a graph with a similar layout can be constructed. The workbook used to create a particular graph is often linked from the bottom of the page, and it can be opened without importing the GraphML file (as previously stated), there is also no reason to use the automate feature.The graphs can be further customized i.e., adding or removing group labels. There are some excellent NodeXL tutorials on YouTube. NodeXL is part of the Social Media Research Foundation. Marc Smith director of the foundation can be found on Twitter (@marc_smith). There is no need to register an account to create the graphs, however an account is required to upload these to the graph gallery.
A network graph of @was3210 created using NodeXL
Netlytic is a cross platform as it is a web based tool and can be used for Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram. Tier 2 of Netlytic allows users to create and manage up to 5 data-sets and 10000 records.Feature number 4, ‘Network Analysis’ allows users to visualize and customize the data that is captured into a network graph. Netlytic can also automatically summarize large volumes of text and discover social networks from conversations on social media. There are some excellent Netlytic guides on YouTube. Netlytic is part of the The Social Media Lab. Members of the lab, Anatoliy Gruzd (@gruzd), and Philip Mai (@PhMai) can be found on Twitter. Users are required to register for an account to use Netlytic.
A network graph of @was3210 created using Netlytic
Twitter Archiving Google Spreadsheet (TAGs)
TAGS (Twitter Arching Google Spreadsheet) created and managed by Martin Hawksey is a web based tool and is cross platform. After capturing Twitter data, of a keyword, hashtag, or user-handle it is possible to use the TAGS Explorer, currently in beta, to visualize networks. Martin can be found on Twitter (@mhawksey). There is no need to register for an account as the tool uses Google Spreadsheets.
A network graph of @was3210 created using TAGs
SocioViz (@SocioVizNet )
SocioViz is a social media analytics platform powered by Social Network Analysis metrics. SocioViz is an analytics tool,
so it does not capture data (unlike the other tools) it is possible to extract data. SocioViz can provide analytics for keywords, hashtags, or user-handles. Users are required to register for an account. More information on SocioViz and how data can be extracted can be found here.
A network graph of @was3210 created using SocioViz
Gephi, a network visualization and analysis platform is a very powerful tool and it may be of interest to developers. A variety of file extensions are supported by Gephi which makes it easy to import data into the program.
If I have missed a tool please let me know as I can create a test network graph and include it in this blog post.
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