A few days ago, LinkedIn Labs released their InMaps application, allowing you to visualize your LinkedIn network – or possibly more importantly, your sub-networks and their relationships. It’s published as an image to outsiders, but you’re able to interact with your map, zooming in and out of collections of contacts, examining their details and interconnectivity. Mine is here:
I spent a considerable amount of time playing around with this tool; examining what relationships the various clusters of people in my network have with each other. I compared my graph to several of my friends’; it was interesting to note the differences. Especially with regards to how closely grouped the clusters of contacts are, and how inter-connected the various clusters appear. I think my sub-networks probably appear more inter-connected than many.
It’s also interesting to see the ‘connectors’ – contacts which link clusters together. These are likely friends or colleagues with strong ties to multiple groups from your career; the larger the dot, the more connections they share with your network. The “long arcs” are cool too – someone buried in one of the clusters who happens to know someone else in some other cluster.
InMaps did a great job colouring my contacts as well – I was impressed with its accuracy. I had a couple of moments where I said “Oh, I didn’t know X knew Y. Cool.” It goes to show you the power of data visualization.
Now all someone needs to do is build an app that overlays your LinkedIn contacts with your contacts from Facebook, Twitter, and other networks. Hopefully it’ll be 3D too. And not built with Flash.