Measured Behavior & Social Graphs – OMMA Metrics & Measurement Conference

On Friday night I ate corn bread, a popover, Caesar salad, lamb and heavily buttered spinach. On Saturday, I followed up my yoga class with Pad Thai at Penang. Sunday morning I had an all you can eat brunch that started with a preparatory spin class, fruit and couscous but progressed to French Toast, a cheese and vegetable omelet and a little chocolate cupcake. Sunday night, I buried my exhaustion in a never-ending progression of Chinese food in belated celebration of the new year. On Monday, I warmed up leftover Chinese food on my way to my Advanced Television seminar. And Monday night, I finished the binge with Ethnic Cuisine organic yet spicy Pad Thai.

Early Tuesday morning, I regretted and repented.

On Tuesday I ate only an English muffin, rice pudding and an apple. But by Wednesday morning, I was still not recuperated enough for a full day of OMMA Metrics and Measurement beginning at 9am. Hence, I did not make it there until Vipin Mayer’s keynote at 1:45.

Since I had an abbreviated day, I am going to start out with a cheat sheet of buzz words noted over the course of the afternoon that will give you a kick start at sounding like a digital metrics enthusiast!

(1) Social Graphs (also a key word during Social Media Week):

As it turns out, this concept is one that has been written about extensively and from many different angles over time and gained prominence in the last few years when Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg used it in his May 2007 announcement that he was opening Facebook to third party application developers.

According to Zuckerberg, a social graph is “the network of connections and relationships between people.” The existence of this network, or graph, is what underlies the success of Facebook and the power that Facebook offers to third party developers. By appealing to a single person on the Facebook platform, an application can be introduced to an entire lifelong collection of that person’s connections.

A more technical – and visual description – of a social graph is as follows: If one were to render the various ways different people in a particular community were connected into a data structure, it would be a graph. In a social graph, each person is a “vertex,” i.e., node or point, and each relationship connecting two people is an “edge,” i.e., line. There can be multiple edges connecting people, e.g., Sue and I worked at Booz Allen, Sue and I are Facebook friends, Sue and I live in Manhattan). Edges in the social graph have a label that describes the relationship.

Bringing these two descriptions together into a helpful explanation is the “WhatIs” definition as follows:

“A social graph is a diagram that illustrates interconnections among people, groups and organizations in a social network. The term refers to both the social network itself and a diagram representing the network.

Individuals and organizations, called actors, are nodes on the graph. Interdependencies, called ties, can be multiple and diverse, including such characteristics or concepts as age, gender, race, genealogy, chain of command, ideas, financial transactions, trade relationships, political affiliations, club memberships, occupation, education and economic status.

Services such as Facebook facilitate the exchange of information, news, photographs, literary works, music, art, software, opinions or even money among users. In this environment, the social graph or for a particular user consists of the set of nodes and ties connected, directly or indirectly, to that actor.

When portrayed as a diagram, a social graph appears as a set of points or dots connected by lines. The points represent the actors and the lines represent the ties. A small-scale social graph can be drawn with a pencil on a sheet of paper. However, because of the complexity of interconnections between individuals, a social graph is typically too massive to fit on a single page and can be rendered only on a computer equipped with specialized application software.”

In 2007, Zuckerberg said that the social graph is “changing the way the world works… As Facebook adds more and more people with more and more connections it continues growing and becomes more useful at a faster rate. We are going to use it spread information through the social graph.”

There are those who criticize the current system of recreating one’s social graph across multiple social platforms as inefficient and open to error. Starting at around the same time as Zuckerberg’s declaration, Plaxo began to offer a service that automatically merges your online networks.

Personally, I prefer to maintain my networks manually. In fact, I – like many I know – have slightly different, although sometimes overlapping, graphs depending upon the online platform. For example, friends & family on Facebook, professional contacts on LinkedIn, digital media enthusiasts and experts on Twitter, and a random assortment of people on my IM buddy list.

However, Facebook Connect allows you to carry your social network with you. (I believe this is what Google was talking about doing two years ago; I believe I heard about this on Cynthia Turner’s Daily Digital Podcast – now sadly defunct; and, I guess this is what Google is belatedly seeking to do with Google Buzz.)

Well, it seems that “social graphs” is, not surprisingly, a topic in and of itself. Hence, I will have to leave it to you to investigate and ponder the meanings of some of these other buzzwords:

(2) Earned media platforms

(3) Engagement mapping

(4) Attribution

(5) Beaconing

Time to get ready for bed to rest up for tomorrow’s OMMA behavioral conference.

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