Analyzing Networked Communication (MA)

Most communication is networked, and has been long before the advent of social media. However, much of communication research conceptualizes communication primarily in an interpersonal or mass-media context. In this class, we apply a network perspective upon communication: We examine what insights arise from analyzing interactive communication within its networked context, and assess how an appraisal of audiences’ networked communication links helps us reformulate existing theories of mass communication in a networked fashion. Gaining a basic understanding of network analytic methodology, we develop empirical research group projects that apply this perspective to the analysis of contemporary communication situations. Raising new questions that advance our understanding of networked communication, this class aims to enable participants to incorporate network perspectives into their thinking and research. More broadly, it contributes to re-connecting mass-media age communication research to the study of digital, networked, multiplatform communication and a rapidly evolving reality of social media.

Course Topics:

  • First connections: What’s in a network?
  • New world, new communication, new theory? The Network Society
  • Getting to terms with Graph Theory: A Network Perspective
  • Personal influence reloaded: Networked Persuasion
  • Gatewatchers, rumor & the reshaped public: Networked News
  • Interactive echoes? Networked Debate
  • What’s in an issue anyway? Networked Meaning
  • Paths & Patterns, Centrality & Community: Network Analysis I
  • Strategizing & Troubleshooting: Network Analysis II
  • The complexity of public communication: Network Dynamics
  • Presentation of projects