Visual Pings, Jeff Hemsley

In data science we tend to trust our algorithms. When we plot social networks, we choose a layout algorithm in hopes that it shows us something about the structure of the network. The algorithms tend to place the nodes randomly and then iteratively move them trying to find a balance between, for example, the attractive forces of the links and the repulsive force that occurs when nodes are two close to each other. But these forces do not accurately reflect human experience so I decided to hack the algorithm to make it plot the network at different points in the cycle. This is one such plot. So here, you can ask, what do the lines and circles (or in network speak: links and nodes) mean? And I would say that instead of looking at the network the way a scientist does, think in terms of a network aesthetic. Is the image interesting? What does it make you think about? The process of making the plot? The algorithms? Your own personal connections? How do you fit into a larger social tapestry?