Ever since social networks became so widely adopted by such a large majority of the world, I’ve always wondered what Twitter networks look like.
The power of social networking analysis can not be understated. You can see how far your own influence stretches out, you can measure the scope of influence of some of the most famous people in Hollywood, and you can even identify potential business contacts within your particular niche. There are many possibilities when you start mapping out social networks.
There has been a huge influx of Twitter apps on the web. Here at MUO, we’ve covered many, such as Charnita’s list of apps that would help you grow your network, and Saikat’s list of cool apps that let you ask questions of the Twitter community. But what I’d like to cover are free Twitter tools I’ve come across that let you map or browse Twitter networks in a graphical way.
Twitter Friends Network Browser
The Twitter Network Browser is a pretty cool web app that lets you type in any Twitter user name as a starting point. From there, you can browse through their friends and travel through that social network one node at a time. Each node expands into a new set of friends.
It doesn’t show all friends – I believe it’s the latest 15 or 16 friends, but once you open up a few networks, it lets you click and drag the entire network map around so that you can open up and browse even further. It’s a pretty fun way to pass the time and follow connections between people you know (and many you don’t).
Explore The Strength Of Twitter Networks
Another impressive Twitter network mapping tool is MentionMaps. [No Longer Available] Just like with the Network Browser app above, MentionMaps doesn’t require a user account and you don’t have to log in using your Twitter ID. Just type in a Twitter name and you can see all of the strongest relationships that user maintains in an awesome dynamic map.
The nodes that show up are those with the largest number of mutual mentions. These are signified on the map by the thickness of the line connecting the nodes. It’s very cool to browse through your friends’ nodes and see who their top “mentioners” are as well. MentionMaps is very intuitive and fast to browse through, as the map moves smoothly any direction that you browse.
Build A Social Network Map On TwiAngulate
TwiAngulate is one of the coolest online tools that I’ve found, mostly because there isn’t just one analysis tool, there are actually six powerful tools you can use to trace through Twitter social networks. These include biggest followers, mutual followers, mutual friends, compare friends, obscure friends and keywords. Most of these are tools that let you compare the networks of two Twitter users, however the keyword tool is one that sifts through the entire Twitter network for the top Tweeters covering specific keywords.
To test the system, I compared Mark’s social network with mine to see how many mutual friends we have on Twitter – turns out we have five – MakeUseOf being one of them, of course!
The “Biggest Followers” tool sounded interesting to me, because I’ve always been curious at the size of some of my friends’ networks and who their followers are. I admit, I don’t spend a lot of time expanding my Twitter network, but along the way people who read my articles will sign up as a follower, so I have a nice tidy network of followers that I’m proud of.
I decided to compare my network to MUO’s own Steve Campbell, a social networking guru. I have to say there is nothing quite as humbling as seeing the size of our networks compared graphically in the form of two spheres. Mine is like a little moon next to Steve’s planet Jupiter – nice work Steve!
Of all of the Twitter tools, I’d have to say that I found TwiAngulate’s more useful by far. I’ve bookmarked the tool and plan to visit it often as I grow my Twitter network.
Target Your Network Based On TwitterVenn Keyword Analysis
The last visual tool that I’d like to cover isn’t so much a graphical representation of Twitter relationships, but instead keyword relationships. Twitter Venn is an app that provides you with a Venn diagram of how three search terms are used on Twitter. This particular Venn Diagram provides all relationships between each set of keywords that you input (up to three). For example, here I’ve entered seo, blogs and google.
The diagram shows that the majority of Tweets are about Google (not surprisingly), secondly about blogs and last about SEO. However, the more important part of the diagram is the center. Most relationship Tweets are about SEO and Google by far. A few are about Google and blogs, a little less are about SEO and blogs, and hardly any cover all three.
All of these free Twitter tools are useful for directing your own Tweets and your efforts in expanding your network into the most productive directions. Have you ever tried any of these Twitter visualizaton tools? Do you know of any more? Share your insight in the comments section below.