Courtesy of NSWLearnscope, here’s a way to visualize how del.icio.us networks are interconnected. The tool is called del.icio.us network explorer. Enter your del.icio.us username (or someone else’s) as a starting point, and you see your network. Click on anyone in your network to see their network. Mutual connections are in red, one way connections are in blue.
In this screenshot, Vicki Davis (brightideasguru) is at the top, Wes Fryer (wfryer) is in the lower left, and Will Richardson (willrich) is in the lower right. My network (christyinsdesign) is in the center with the colored lines. Looking at this image, I can see that Wes and Will have several people in common, but Vicki only has one network connection shared with Wes and none in common with Will. I was a little surprised by that; I would have expected a bit more overlap there.
I wish this had some way to directly link to the del.icio.us accounts of people in the network. When I explore and see that several people in my network have a connection to someone that I don’t, I’d like to see what links that person has. However, since the usernames are there, it’s not that hard to find people. It’s just an extra step.
Overall, I thought it was fun to explore and to see the connections. George Siemens has written numerous times about visualization as a way to deal with the information overload and to help understand patterns. I definitely think I was able to see patterns more quickly using this tool than just working through the del.icio.us interface, even though I could get the same information in text form there.