X-ray of the @AISconnect community

18 Dec

For a year now I am a department editor for the Association of Information Systems (AIS) and responsible for their Twitter initiative. In brief the idea is to use Twitter to create a community of IS scholars around the @Aisconnect Twitter account by re-tweeting messages from IS scholars that follow the account and are of general interest for the IS community. Furthermore, we build a list of Information Systems scholars using the Twitter list functionality so that every interested IS scholar can check what there fellow IS scholars have to say.

In November 2012 we have more than 150 followers and almost as many scholars on the IS list. This a good moment to make an X-ray of the IS scholar community using social network analysis techniques (software used is NetMiner). The X-ray shows who is connected with whom in the AISconnect community because he is following that other person. In collecting the data we scanned the 1st and 2nd degree followers of @AISconnect and determined which of the AISconnect followers are following each other. By applying the Furchterman-Reingold algorithm (so-called Spring algorithm) we created a sociogram that is shown in the figure below.


The labels next to the nodes represent the names of the Twitter accounts of the AISconnect followers and the lines show who is following whom. When a node has a lot of incoming arrows it means that he is followed by a lot of other AISconnect follewers and the most followed people (based on in-degree centrality) are: David Green (PhD in Management Information Systems at Chicago and 239 followers), Jonny Holmström (Informatics professor at Umeå and 462 followers) and Remko Helms (Assistant Professor in Information Systems at Utrecht and 304 followers ). When we look at who are the connectors in the network, i.e. often on shortest path between others, then the most central people are: David Green, Jonny Holmström, David Wastell (Professor of Information Systems in Nottingham and ).  David Green and Jonny Holmström can also be easily found in the centre of the figure above and are therefore said to be most influential in the @AISconnect community at the moment (just based on their position and not on tweeting activity!). The IS scholars that follow @AISconnect and have the most followers are:  John Gallaugher (3195 followers), Andrew Pope (1433 followers), and Hans Zimmerman (1390 followers). All these three are not far from the core of the network.

To check if the AIS connect community is split in sub-groups I also checked clustering using the Blondel community algorithm and the result is shown in the sociogram below. One of the groups that is easy to recognize for me is the Utrecht University cluster existing of professors, phd students, students and former colleagues. If other people recognize other clusters please leave your comment below! Although several sub groups exist there are also many lines crossing the boundaries of the sub-groups meaning that each group has sufficient links to other parts of the AIS connect community.


In the future I plan to make more X-rays of the @AISconnect community to see how it is developing. Please make your fellow IS colleages aware of this initiative and start following because only if enough people join we can benefit from network effects. But the my next post will look at the conversation at the #ICIS2012 conference that is currently taking place in Orlando.


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