This blog has led to action - make sure to visit the

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Post originally published here

My friends at eCairn recently came up with a new service to get to know your ecosystem better: network and keyword maps.

I am already using eCairn to collect and read blogs on several topics: entrepreneurs, entreprise 2.0, social capital, etc...

I use the service to find new blogs related to each of these topics: the "suggested blog" feature that they have has allowed me to build from an initial set of about 20 blogs that were relevant to me to a list of about 500 to date.

I also use eCairn influence ranking to sort out these blogs, so that I have a choice to filter the posts I read using keywords, but also influence. If I am short on time, I'll stick to checking posts from the top influencers, and then if I have more time, I will dig down into the bigger set of blogs. This same influence ranking is what allowed me to post the top 150 "Social Capital" blogs for example.

And now they are offering some interesting visualization tools. I did experiment with them on the Social Capital list of blogs:

1. Network map: this is a big blob, and not much can be seen, but it is interesting to notice that within this big cloud of 548 blogs there are a few networks within the network that appear on the edges (blue tags and green tags). Social Capital Network map

2. Network map for the top blogs: in this map, you can see 2 distinct networks for blogs. From what I could see, one group seem to focus more on funding and marketing, while the other seem to have a focus closer to social entrepreneurship. But in the end bloggers are people and who they reference and why is not a strict rule. In this case I would be interested in feedback from bloggers on why we have such 2 groups at the top. Social Capital top blogs - network map

3. Keyword map for the blogs mentioning "Social Capital": in this last example, I used a filter on "Social Capital" to look at the posts from the Social Capital ecosystem that I am tracking. And what is interesting here is that we are looking not just at keywords, but at groups of words as well, up to 3 word. The big difference here is that while it is interesting to keep keywords, there is value in identifying groups of words such as "office of social" for example. In this case, it is probably fair to assume that this group of word refers to the Office of Social Innovation established by the Obama administration. And if we start looking at this group of words and how often they are used in posts, we can see here that "Office of Social" is used more often than "government".

The most striking group of words for me is "Social Media" which comes back more often than almost anything else. For a group of blogs focusing on Social Capital, it comes back more often than "social entrepreneurs" or "social innovation".

On the more "to be expected side", "Social Venture" is comes back more often than "philanthropy", "Impact" comes back more than "investment".

And then note the importance of "San Francisco" in the overall cloud. If I am to believe bloggers, San Francisco is clearly the place where things are happening.

And if there is one event that stands out, it is the Social Capital Markets Conference (look at the size of the "Capital Markets Conference" group). Kudos to the Socap team for the awareness that they were able to raise in the blogs. It would be interesting to see how this cloud evolves over time... Social Capital blogs - words cloud