Great Lakes Geek Show - Valdis Krebs
Podcast by Dan Hanson, the Great Lakes Geek

social network analyst Valdis Krebs
Valdis Krebs
Founder and Chief Scientist

Valdis Krebs is the Founder, and Chief Scientist, at Valdis is a management consultant, researcher, trainer, author, and the developer of InFlow software for social and organizational network analysis [SNA/ONA]. InFlow maps and measures knowledge exchange, information flow, emergent communities, networks of alliances and other connections within and between organizations and communities. Since 1987, Valdis has participated in almost 500 SNA/ONA projects.

Valdis has undergraduate degrees in Mathematics & Computer Science, and a graduate degree in Organizational Behavior/Human Resources and has studied applied Artificial Intelligence.

Besides all that, he's a cool guy and an innovative thinker.

Valdis Krebs at CoolTwitter Conference in Cleveland

Valdis gave an interesting presentation at the recent Cool Twitter Conference at the House of Blues in Cleveland. He told how he uses Social Network Analysis to mathematically and visually analyze networks to better understand how they work. Once you undertsand how they work, you can figure out ways to improve them.

Since Twitter began, users have been faced with the question "What are you doing?" But most business people don't answer that question - or at least they shouldn't. Krebs suggests other better questions to consider such as

  • What are you interested in?
  • What do you think is cool?
  • What are you researching?
  • What's innovative?

Another problem for twitter users is how to handle the Followers issue. Do you follow everyone who follows you? Do you seek lots of followers so that your numbers look impressive?

Valdis not only is 'fairly selective' in who he follows but he will occasional purge followers if he is not interested in their postings. Following thousands of people makes it nearly impossible to read their postings without dedicating many hours each day to that task. It's better to be selective and get value from the people you follow.

When Krebs gets a new follower, he looks at their posting and retweets one of their best postings as an introduction to his community.

One of his best ideas is one that many people do not practice. His work with Social Network Maps shows that innovation happens when different groups come together. He suggests that we 'Connect on similarities but profit from differences." In other words, if you just follow people who think exactly like you, you aren't exposed to new ideas and innovation will suffer.

Learn more from his blog, You should also follow him on Twitter @valdiskrebs.

In this podcast from the CoolTwitter Conference there is, unfortunately, a lot of background noise but the content is worth the effort. The video's audio is a little better.

August 7, 2009

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