Yes, Virginia….

@santa: why are the chichfilas all closed?

Ever wonder who you are talking to? Or who’s talking back? Recently I came across Mentionmap by asterisq. It shows you a nice little viz of who any Twitter User has mentioned. Check out aplusk or naaman. The viz itself is quite nice, it shows you people, hashtags, and the stroke denote link degree.

Six months ago, I took a look at a mention map of some tweets I captured from the first presidential debate of 2008. Instead of examining in/out degree, I chose to take a look at eigenvector centrality (EV). If you dont know what that is, think PageRank in a social graph (actually PageRank is variant of EV). In such a network, EV shows you the most salient node. For example, the yellow brick road lead to the Emerald City. Presumably, other towns had more roads in and out of them (higher in/out degrees) but they all lead to the Wizard’s city (which had an degree of 1). EV Centrality would rank the Emerald City as the most salient city in all of Oz. Lets take a look at the debate tweets:

In this graph, the node’s size is relative to its EV Centrality. The larger the more salient. Clearly there is a cluster of importance. Lets take a closer look:

Obama, NewsHour and McCain take the top three spots.

The debaters and the moderator had the highest centrality. Despite not having the highest degree. Barack was significantly more salient than Jim or John. When I examined just the degrees of this network, the main characters became less important and we picked up on chatty micro-bloggers.

Think Santa knows about this? Is his list rank ordered? Does he cluster who’s been naughty? Should he be using NodeXL?

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