For this week’s blog I visualized my Facebook network. There are three clusters that jump right out. The biggest one (blue) are all people I know from my secondary school. At the left top there is a cluster (red) with people from university. The third cluster (dark green) are all people from my current job. All these groups are currently unconnected (actually there is small overlap which I will discuss later) because these relationships are formed at different places and time.
The expertise of the university cluster stands out most. These people are all studying the same thing and are therefore typified with the same expertise. Within the other two clusters there is no specific expertise. In geographical terms it is just the other way around. People from the work and secondary school cluster all live in the same area as me. People from university are spread over the whole country.
In terms of age there is some sort of homophily. In all three clusters the age ranges from 19 to 24. Next to age, also the education level is similar. People I know from secondary school are almost all studying. Also people from work are all doing some sort of higher education.
If I would start up a retail webshop I think opportunities and resources are most available in my university network. My study program focuses on innovation and many of my fellow students are therefore busy with starting their own businesses. For instance, I know someone who has his own company in making websites and others have their own consulting company. So I would go there for advice and a website. My cluster from secondary school could be used in terms of expressive goals. There are some good friends of my within that cluster, they could give me support and confidence.
If I look at the study cluster and the work cluster I only have a tertius gaudens role. There is no need for them to connect. In the future this would be different. When I have a real job (not at a movie theatre) it could be beneficial to make bridges between people from my time as a student and people from work. Maybe they could help each other out with something and adding contacts to their network as well.
When I visualize the network in a pyramid the alters in the upper levels of the pyramid show the individuals that make some important bridges within my network. These actors have a tertius gaudens role as well. They benefit from both sides. For instance there are two persons I know from secondary school, who are now doing the same study at the vu as me. Therefore we know the same people. The same happens with some colleagues of mine, with whom I also went to secondary school.
You’ll here from me next week!