The map is not the territory

It has just dawned on me that there are two reasons that I get a nervous tick every time anyone mentions social network analysis.

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The first is because the activity is invariably couched in terms of one group - managers, the business - mapping the relationships of everyone else - the people prepared to open up and use the social tools in the first place.

The second is because they seek to make explicit something that is much better left implicit. We can all work out what the network is and where the good guys are from the using the tools and inhabiting the environments they create without having to have it drawn out for us.

If I felt that someone else was mapping my conversions and the relationships they represented - and wasn't prepared to have the same done to them, I would soon stop talking.