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Social Network Analysis in Telecommunications by Carlos Andre Reis Pinheiro

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CHAPTER 1

An Introduction to Social Network Analysis

This chapter introduces the origins of social network analysis as a social science. A basic approach of studying social relations comes from the 1950s, when it was an important tool in understanding relationships among people within some particular social groups. How this approach evolved during the years is also briefly described, as well as how mathematical concepts, such as graph theory, were introduced to create a formal method to analyze and provide relevant information about social groups.

Therefore, Chapter 1 presents the evolution of social network analysis, from its appearance as a social science until its development into a more formal method based on mathematical concepts.

EVOLUTION OF SOCIAL NETWORK ANALYSIS

Social network analysis takes into consideration the fact that social life is relations among individuals. Behaviors within a network are critical to understanding social connections, and—more important—the implications that they create inside a community. The most relevant implication is how particular people inside a social network can influence others to perform similar events. In terms of business, what makes an individual a leader or follower? What is the impact when a telecommunications company loses an influential customer within a social network? Are companies able to lead other customers afterward? Are companies able to lead other customers to purchase new products and bundles or to consume new services? ...

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