Information Visualization for Social Media Network Analysis

Tuesday, February 7, 2012 - 3:35pm


Wednesday, February 15, 2012
3:30 – 4:30 PM
Computer Science Conference Room, Harold Frank Hall Rm. 1132

HOST: Matthew Turk

SPEAKER: Ben Shneiderman
University of Maryland

Title: Information Visualization for Social Media Network Analysis


Network visualization has been a lively topic for a half century, but
the intense challenges from many facets of this problem demand diverse
solutions. While the popular force-directed approaches produce appealing
presentations, they are often so cluttered that the benefits are limited
to showing large clusters and disconnected outliers.

Interactive approaches that give users control of node and link
visibility enable them to make more fine-grained analyses that lead to
important insights about relationships among nodes or the presence of
exceptional nodes and links. Another important task is to spot the
absence of expected nodes and links. One strategy is coordinating
network visualizations with statistical measures from graph theory and
social network analysis to give users interactive control of ranking,
filtering and clustering ( A
second strategy involves a novel layout technique to arrange node
positions according to their attributes in stable yet comprehensible
semantic substrates ( These novel
strategies have influenced the design of the novel network visualization
tool that is embedded in Excel: Network Overview for Discovery and
Exploration in Excel (NodeXL: ). The main
application has been social media networks extracted from Twitter,
Facebook, Flickr, or YouTube usage patterns.


Ben Shneiderman is a Professor in the Department of Computer Science and
Founding Director (1983-2000) of the Human-Computer Interaction
Laboratory ( at the University of Maryland.
He is a Fellow of the AAAS, ACM, and IEEE, and a Member of the National
Academy of Engineering.

Prof. Shneiderman is the co-author with Catherine Plaisant of Designing
the User Interface: Strategies for Effective Human-Computer Interaction
(5th ed., 2010, With Stu Card and Jock
Mackinlay, he co-authored Readings in Information Visualization: Using
Vision to Think (1999). His bookLeonardo’s Laptop appeared in October
2002 (MIT Press) and won the IEEE book award for Distinguished Literary
Contribution. His latest book, with Derek Hansen and Marc Smith, is
Analyzing Social Media Networks with NodeXL (,
2010). This is available for sale on, and Ben would be happy
to sign copies of the book after his talk.