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The UK Social Networks Conference, will be held at the University of Greenwich from July 7 to 9. The themes will range from politics in Scotland to agriculture in Thailand.
The man who helped the Scottish National Party (SNP) to a landslide victory over the Labour Party in May’s Scottish Parliamentary elections will tell a gathering of world experts in social networks analysis how he did it.Ewan McIntosh, founder and CEO of digital consultancy NoTosh. He will address this year’s UK Social Networks Conference, which will be held at the University of Greenwich from July 7 to 9, will explain how he achieved what was regarded as ‘technically impossible’ in less than 100 days by creating a website using the Nation Builder system which helped get US President Barack Obama elected in 2008. The use of social networks in political campaigns is one of the themes of this year’s conference, which will include speakers on social media campaigning in China and South Korea.Dr. Paola Tubaro, Lecturer in Economic Sociology in the Department of International Business & Economics at the university, says: “The spectacular rise of Facebook and Twitter in recent years has brought social networks to the fore, and drawn massive attention to social networks analysis as a field of study. Yet social networks have always existed; in fact, any time two or more people interact with each other, a social network is formed – whether in the family, with friends, at school or in the workplace, to name but a few examples.“By studying how social networks are structured using mathematical models, we can learn how to predict and even change outcomes. For example, looking at the networks in deprived communities could show us how extremism flourishes, and where social support may be required. An examination of the formal and informal networks in a work organisation could indicate where career progression is being hampered, or why services are not being delivered effectively.”Other themes at the conference include the use of social networks among political, business and non-profit organizations to make policy in the Ukraine and the risk assessment of energy security in Austria. Keynote speakers include: • Professor Katherine Faust, University of California, Irvine, who will compare social networks in rural Thailand, as well as relationships across different human groups and animal species • Professor David Knoke, University of Minnesota, who will talk about networks and teamwork in organisations • Professor Mario Diani, University of Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, who will apply a network perspective to the study of local civic networks in Britain.The primary objective of the conference is to facilitate interactions between the many different disciplines interested in network analysis. It will be attended by social and behavioural scientists, sociologists, educationalists, political scientists, IT experts, mathematicians and physicists, among others. The university has hosted three of the UK Social Networks Association’s (www.uksna.org) seven annual conferences to date. Its Centre for Business Network Analysis (www.gre.ac.uk/schools/business/enterprise/research/cbna) applies social networks analysis techniques to a wide range of social, business and policy issues. The centre offers short and post-graduate courses, training in software and analysis, consultancy work and commissioned research.The conference will be held at the university’s Greenwich campus which is within a World Heritage Site on the banks of the River Thames.
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