SNA Sensemaking

Posted by  Andrew Rixon —May 11, 2006
Filed in Collaboration

Social Network Analysis has spent alot of its evolution and development down in the weeds where the expert has been king. Crunching and analysing. Not surprising really. There are traps for young players in SNA and there is a clear role for someone like an expert to keep us clear of traps.

Eventually however, when the crunching and analysis has been worked through, which these days happens mostly through software, a delicate opportunity emerges to provide the visualisations and network maps to a group. A group of people such as senior leaders or managers, or even people from ‘the coal face’. Whomever, they are people who will then face the challenge of ‘making sense’ of the ‘data’.

Until now SNA as a field hasn’t had much to say about how groups can ‘make sense’ of social network maps. The sensemaking perspective has been missing. Maybe this is because, as I mentioned, there is a delicate opportunity to presenting network maps to groups. Delicate because social network maps contain very delicate information. People’s names. The opportunity is around moving beyond ‘the expert recommends’ and more towards ‘the group thinks’.

Whichever, as I discuss in our seminar, SNA sensemaking can provide a powerful way forward. A way to action.

About  Andrew Rixon

2 Responses to “SNA Sensemaking”

  1. Anne Hodal Says:

    The link to the seminar mentioned in the above posting is dead. Would there be any other way to get to the information from this seminar?
    I’m currently writing my master thesis at the IT-University in Copenhagen, Denmark – just about SNA and sensemaking, so I thought it would be really interresting to hear your say on this topic!
    Our focus is on how to make (more) sense of the SNA using a narrative angle to get around some of the delicate 😉 and underlying information that can reveal a bit more about the context and meaning which is essential (in our opinion) for understanding more about the relations in a network.
    Anyways: thanks for a brilliant blog – I’ve followed yous postings for some time now and I am really enjoying it!
    Regards, Anne

  2. Shawn Callahan Says:

    Sure thing Anne. Send me an email shawn at anecdote dot com dot au and I will send what we have to you.

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