Marc Smith, Chief Social Scientist at Telligent Systems, who spent 10 years at Microsoft gave a presentation at the CIO IT Exec Forum last Tuesday on how to analyze social systems using networks and graph theory.
If you look through your emails you will see some people who originate messages, others who mainly reply to them, others who send messages back and forth. These communication patterns can be applied to social networks like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, as well as to instant messaging, tech support forums and blog comments. Analyzing an online discussion forum can show who are the discussion starters, the reply-oriented people who answer many questions and the flame warriors (who keep posting to the same topic).
Telligent has software that analyzes enterprise communication patterns. Check out Marc's blog on how Telligent analyzes data.
Marc illustrated his talk with a template called NodeXL for MS Excel he has create, along with Ben Shneiderman at U of Maryland among others, that you can use to create your own network diagrams.
Once again Tatyana Kanzaveli invited a world class speaker to the intimate venue of Samovar at 1077 Independence Ave in Mountain View. You can see more events in the series here (http://www.meetup.com/CIO-IT-Executives/).