A New Way to Map Your Social Network

December 3 2012

Our constant engagement with technology has introduced an additional way to map social networks. Instead of relying on what you say, you can now analyze what you do. Consider the following questions:

  • When you call your friends and leave a voicemail, which ones call you back right away and which ones seemingly take forever?
  • Do your friends call and invite you to parties on Friday and Saturday nights?
  • Do you spend more time chatting when you make calls or when you receive calls?

You may not know the answers to these questions – but your mobile phone provider does. Using network analysis software, phone companies study the call records of subscribers. They know who you call (or receive calls from) most frequently, how long you stay on the phone with these people, and who you correspond with the most via text message.

Those who make long calls, receive calls during party-hour weekend times, and who get quick call-backs after leaving voicemails are deemed “influential” within their social networks – and pampered appropriately. Similarly, instead of asking you to list your most important ties, Facebook tracks the profiles you naturally interact with the most and displays those people’s updates to you more often.