Back in December 2007 Lorcan Dempsey wrote a blog post about the Nexus Facebook application, which provides a visualisation of your friends in Facebook. The highest density of his friends were his professional colleagues followed by “mostly UK friends (and the most highly connected nodes are people who work or worked at UKOLN“.
This seemed interesting so I installed the Nexus application and captured a screenshot of the representation of collections of my friends and contacts. As with Lorcan, the highest density represents professional colleagues across the UK Web management community. The second largest cluster, shown on the bottom right of the image, are my rapper sword dancing and folkie friends.
It’s possible to interactive with the data, exploring who knows who and explore what the links are.
The concluding remark Lorcan made on his blog post was “Not sure it means much, but it was interesting to play with for a while ….“.
I agree with Lorcan that it’s fun to play with. But can it be used in any meaningful fashion? I’m inclined to think that it may have some potential in the support of information literacy.
Could this tool be used by students to explore the relationships across their groups of friends. Perhaps one could suggest that the students write a Daily Mail style expose´ based on the premise that “It’s 2028 and Carl Marks is the new leader of the Labour Party. Our Social Networking History Correspondent has managed to unearth the shocking details of what Carl got up to as a student. Read pages 1-5 for the shocking truth“. Or, in the interests of balance, write a article for the New Marxism Today on “On the day Prince William ascends to the throne we describe his student lifestyle“.
NOTE (added on 1 November 2012): This service was shut own on 7 October 2009.