Tweet, Twitter, Tweetest

Check it out! I made a Node XL graph of my Twitter followers! This is the final product, but I went through a lot of "drafts," modifying it a little each time. That's me in the middle. Go ahead and click on it to see it better.

One thing that I noted about my followers was that they fell into two main groups: people I know from Athens, and people I met prior to moving to Athens. Additionally, they are either involved with Young Life in some way, or they are not associated with Young Life.

Young Life is a Christian outreach program that places "leaders" at a specific high school. Different programs are run for students of each high school, and in this case, I am calling the high school students who attend these events "participants."

You probably wouldn't be able to make sense of this unless you knew what the colors, shapes, sizes and labels meant. The colors and the labels mean the same thing for each node. There are 6 categories of colors/labelled nodes: Young Life leader (blue; "l"), former Young Life leader (green; "fl"), Young Life participant (yellow; "p"), former Young Life participant (orange; "fp"), associated with Young Life in another way (purple; "as"), and not associated with Young Life (red; "na").

There are two different sizes for nodes, not including my own. The larger nodes represent people I met in Athens, and the smaller nodes represent people I did not. Finally, most of the nodes are circles, but some nodes are squares because they do not represent actual people. An example is "@YLencouragement," which is not a real person and is therefore represented as a square.

As you can see from the chart, most of the people I met in Athens were people involved with Young Life in some way. There are 5 exceptions: 3 of these are my roommates, 1 is my roommate's boyfriend, and the 5th is an Athens High School (AHS) student who was on the cross country team that I coached last fall. This AHS student is near a lot of large, yellow nodes because these nodes are participants in Young Life who also go to AHS.

All green and purple dots are near the large "clump" of Young Life involved, Athens-located nodes. However, there are 5 small blue nodes that are farther away. 4 of these are people who attended my own high school, and now are leaders at locations other than Athens. The 5th node was actually my own Young Life leader when I was in high school.

I can't forget to mention a very unique node on the graph is the only node connected only to me. This is my cousin from Dayton, OH. (I am from a town between Dayton and Cincinnati.) Everyone else is at least connected to one other person in the graph besides me. I, of course, am connected to everyone (I'm so popular!)

The Athens-located/Young-Life-involved clump generally looks as expected, with many current leaders in the middle, surrounded by former leaders and others associated with Young Life. Most of the "others associated" are people who went through the training program to become a leader, but did not actually become one. The small purple node represents a woman married to a Young Life leader from my high school, and she helps out with events although she is not a leader.

There really aren't any small nodes that are connected to larger ones (who are real people), with two exceptions. One of the people I went to high school with (small, blue node) is connected to one of the leaders from Athens (large, blue node), and I didn't even know they knew each other until I made this graph! The only other connection is between one of my non-Young-Life college friends (large, red node) and my boyfriend (small, orange node); they met when he came to visit me here in Athens.

Seems like what's most important here is the size of the node, second only to the color of the node. Node sizes almost do not mix at all, but similar colors mix fairly often. The shape of the node hardly mattered at all; square nodes of the same shape and color lay together, but square nodes of different shapes and/or colors did not.

If you want to read about my experience and some of my failed attempts using NodeXL, click here.

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