A short tour of the new features of SocNetV v1.4

SocNetV: Social Network Analysis and Visualization Software

A short tour of the new features of SocNetV v1.4

Over the last weeks, the Social Networks Visualizer (SocNetV) project has released two new versions which brought useful new features and of course a lot of bugfixes. The latest v1.4 closed even 4 years old bugs!


SocNetV v1.4:erdos-random-social-network

The strongest new feature of SocNetV is multirelational editing. You can now load or create a social network on the canvas, for instance depicting the friendship ties between kids in a classroom, and then add a new relation (Cltr+Shift+N) which it might depict i.e. “likes” between pairs of the same clasroom kids. And you can be do this very easily as we will demonstrate in this article.

Let’s say you create the social network of 20 kids.  You can press Ctrl+A to add node and Ctrl+L to add link, or double click on the canvas to add a node and middle click on a node to start a new link from it. Or  you can just import the network from GraphML, Pajek, Adjacency Matrix, UCINET (fullmatrix and edgelist1 formats) or a simple list file.

SocNetV v1.4: 20-kids-classroom-social-network-friendship

SocNetV v1.4: 20-kids-classroom-social-network-friendship

Since the edges depict ties of friendship let’s name this (yet unnamed) relation accordingly. Either press Ctrl+Shift+N or just the + button on the far right side of the toolbar and SocNetV will pop up a nice dialog informing what this is all about and prompting you to enter a first relation name. Note: The same dialog pops up when you add the first link in a new network.


SocNetV v1.4: 20-kids-classroom-social-network-friendship-naming-relation

Now, the toolbar Relation widget says we are editing on the friendship relation. Whenever we want to, we can press again on the + button to add a second relation.


SocNetV v1.4: 20-kids-classroom-social-network-friendship-adding-relation

Let’s say this new relationship is about groups or more specifically who the kids consider their group leaders. For simplicity, let’s name the new relation “groups”.


SocNetV v1.4: 20-kids-classroom-social-network-friendship-adding-relation-2

Now, when we press OK, SocNetV will change to a new relation called “groups”. This means it will remove from the canvas the edges belonging to the “friendship” relation and leave only the actors (kids). Thus, you are free to link them together with ties of the new relation:


SocNetV v1.4: 20-kids-classroom-social-network-friendship-new-relation-no-links

So, let’s create some “groups leader” links. As usual middle-click on a node to start a link and then middle-click again to another node to draw the new directed edge. You can even add new nodes if you like, but you cannot remove since that would alter the now hidden “friendship” relation as well. Maybe we’ll fix that too in a later release:


SocNetV v1.4: 20-kids-classroom-social-network-friendship-new-relation-adding-links

When you’re done editing, you can perform analysis and apply visualization layouts as usual – only in this case the actions will consider only the links of the active relation (groups). You can use shortcuts (Ctrl+1 to 8, Y,K, R to analyze and Ctrl+Shift+1 to 8 etc to circular layout) or select a layout from the handy toolbox in the left side of the window: Visualize > By Prominence Index. For instance select Index: Betweenness Centrality and Layout Type: Circular. Hit Apply et voila…


SocNetV v1.4: 20-kids-classroom-social-network-friendship-new-relation-betweennes-circular-layout

Now, you see who’s prominent and who’s not in terms of betweenness centrality scores. But this layout considers only the “groups” relation. Wouldn’t be nice to have a means to visually depict the centrality scores in the first relation and compare it at once with the same index scores in the second relation? That can be done, and easily too.

First, shift to the first relation, either by hitting the left arrow button in the toolbar or by pressing Ctrl+Left arrow key on the keyboard. SocNetV will hide the ties of the “groups” relation, load the “friendship” relation and draw its edges. But it will also keep the circular betweenness layout of the second relation we had already applied.


SocNetV v1.4: 20-kids-classroom-social-network-friendship-first-relation-betweennes-circular-layout-of-the-second

Now, all you need is to select from Visualize > By Prominence Index the same index (Betweenness Centrality) but this time select Layout Type: Nodal size. SocNetV will calculate the Betweenness Centrality score of the actors in the current (friendship) relation and change their node size to reflect the score of each one. The larger a node is, the highest BC score has with regards to the “friendship” relation. At the same time, node positions will remain the same – they will still reflect the BC score of each actor with regards to the “groups” relation.


SocNetV v1.4: 20-kids-classroom-social-network-friendship-first-relation-nodal-betweennes-circular-layout-of-the-second

So, now you have a mixed layout. Nodal size reflects “friendship” BC scores while positioning gives is a hint for “groups” BC scores. Thus, actor 4 is very prominent as a friend but not so prominent as a group leader.

Isn’t that nice or what?

Loading and saving multirelational social networks

Social Networks Visualizer v1.4 also supports loading multirelational networks (at the moment only from UCINET formatted files) and saving such networks as well.

But there’s a caveat in saving. SocNetV will not save all the relations of the network at once in the same file, rather it will only save the active relation. You will have to change to the other relations and then save them to separate files. This is a problem that will be also fixed in v1.5.

If you like, you can test multi-relation network loading with the new dataset: Freeman’s EIES networks. Just press F7 and select that dataset. SocNetV will even display a short message with info about the dataset (not displayed in this screenshot).


SocNetV v1.4: freeman-EIES-networks-multirelational-open

Then SocNetV will load the three-relations network of 32 actors at once and let you switch between relations and analyze them very easily… This is the status of the network at TIME 1


SocNetV v1.4: freeman-EIES-networks-multirelational-TIME-1

Shift to the next relation, “TIME 2″, and select the layout of your choice. In this example the actors are displayed in levels of BC scores (from top to bottom) while node sizes also reflect the same scores.


SocNetV v1.4: freeman-EIES-networks-multirelational-TIME-2

If you prefer hard data,  just view the scores. From the left toolbox Analyze > Prominence, select Betweenness Centrality. The report will be displayed at once. One click only.


SocNetV v1.4: freeman-EIES-networks-multirelational-analysis

Or select  Distances > Geodesics Matrix to calculate the number of geodesics (shortest paths) between pairs of actors.



Or you might need a Triad Census. It’s as easy as it gets. From Analyze > Clusterability select Triad Census.


SocNetV v1.4: freeman-EIES-networks-multirelational-triad-census

The same goes for displaying the distances (length of shortest path) between actors:


SocNetV v1.4: freeman-EIES-networks-multirelational-distances


Memory optimizations

Apart from the aforementioned new features (multiple relations and nodal size layout), the latter versions of SocNetV and especially v1.4 are more optimized for low memory consumption and speed. In our tests on Intel i5 CPU and 4GB RAM, version 1.4 could easily load and display networks of 1000 actors and 10000 edges in a few seconds.  And doing that it consumed under 400MB RAM.

In the screenshot below, SocNetV v1.4 has created an Erdos-Renyi random network of 1000 actors connected with more than 40.000 edges. It was created in a QuadCore i5, 16GB RAM, in 1 minute.
The mixed circular-nodal layout reflects the BC score of each node. To the left, in the Statistics tab of the toolbox, network statistics such as Actors, Edges, and Density are displayed. Selecting a node, SocNetV displays its InDegree, OutDegree and clustering coefficient as well.


SocNetV v1.4: random-erdos-renyi-1000-actors-40000-edges-betweenness-circular-nodal-layout

Versions 1.3 and 1.4 fixed a lot of bugs too (see ChangeLog). Nevertheless, do not consider SocNetV bugfree yet. Test it, play with it, but always verify you data. Or if in doubt just open a bug report so that we can help you out.

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SocNetV Features

Explore the nice features of SocNetV to make
your social network research real fun!

  • Easy User Interface

    Navigate yourself and use the application either with the mouse or the keyboard.

  • File Formats

    Load and save to GraphML, but you can also import most network file formats (GML, Pajek, UCINET, GraphViz, Adjacency, EdgeList etc).

  • Network analysis

    Compute distances, eccentricity, connectedness, clique census, triad census, and Prominence indices (i.e. eigenvector, betweenness and information centrality, promixity prestige, pagerank and more)

  • Visualization

    Apply intuitive visualization layouts on undirected/directed graphs, based on prominence scores or force-directed models.

  • Famous networks

    Automatically recreate known social network datasets such as Padgett's Families

  • Random networks

    Create random networks using one of the supported models (scale-free, Erdős–Rényi, lattice, small worlds)

  • Web Crawler

    Easily visualize and analyze networks of linked web pages and sites through the built-in web crawler.

  • Multi-relational

    Work with multiple relations concurrently. SocNetV supports loading, editing and saving multirelational social networks.

  • Documentation

    Learn to work with SocNetV and make use of Social Network Analysis methods by reading our Manual

  • Free Software

    SocNetV is Free and Open-Source Software, use it everywhere. Have a feature request? Ask us!

Have fun with Social Network Analysis

Use the buttons to download Social Network Visualizer for your OS or to learn more about Social Network Analysis and Visualization reading the Manual .