500 LinkedIn contacts: Visualised

I recently tipped over 500 contacts on LinkedIn and thought it was a good opportunity to reflect on how and where I've made those connections. Fortunately, LinkedIn Labs have developed a brilliant interactive tool called InMaps, allowing you to visualise your network in just a few clicks.

Here's what my 500 connections look like.

MurrayGalbraith_500Contacts

Click image for larger version or make your own here

So what's the point of an exercise like this?

Isn't it just another 20 minutes wasted in social media fuelled narcissism?

Like any activity involving deep personalisation, there is always the potential for this to simply be time spent staring into the mirror, or worse, contemplating how to tweak and curate your information for purely aesthetic value.

But one look at my graph tells me that the various 'micro networks' within my professional network are spread in a fairly long line, meaning that while the majority of the people in my Orange and Blue networks work in Melbourne, they have the least connections in common.

So what, I hear you ask?

Well imagine if my next project called for 3 people from a range of backgrounds, all based in Melbourne with an immediate start date. However the subject material required those three people to then reach out to their individual networks and find further people to participate in a pilot program of some description... I'm glad to see in this case they wouldn't likely be calling the same 10 people.

But what if that project needed the three people to think as a team overnight? Would they have enough in common, based on what I can see from this data?

Not a huge deal of course, but an interesting exercise to visualise seemingly banal data to identify gaps, patterns and hopefully some insights.

The whole idea is simply to find a new perspective, ideally leading to insightful, decisive action.

Which data would you love to see visualised?