Words: cko;This winter we were approached by PhD student Thomas Langenberg who is currently studying Social Network Analysis in search of detailed information on how members in online communities such as Newschoolers share information, and in general interact with each other on an ongoing basis. In the interest of the great concept of learning we decided to help, and we’ve done so by implementing a survey through NS that we’d now like the community’s help with (i.e. you, reading this right now). By participating you’re aiding both the research project and Newschoolers and you even have a chance to win some prizes. All the relevant information is laid out below by Thomas and he or I will be happy to answer any question you may have. Thanks to everyone that takes the time to help!Dear all,Two months ago I contacted cko and asked him whether or not we could run an online survey on the NS website to find out how the NS community is “really” working. I proposed to cko to run a Social Network Survey on the NS website. The objective of such a project would be to see who is connected to whom, how NS members share and exchange ideas, and to find out what is going on in the community. In the following, we describe what we have come up with. Background:I am a doctoral student at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), which is a Swiss university close to Geneva at the Geneva Lake. I am currently working on a dissertation in the field of social networks and technological innovation. In particular, I am studying the US skiing industry.Objective:The social network survey, which we are launching today, has two main objectives:- We attempt to understand how NS community members share information, exchange ideas, and create knowledge regarding skiing, ski technology, and skiing technique- We aim to understand how we can enhance the NS website and establish the website as a valuable and indispensable source of information in the global community of newschooler skiers.In doing so, we hope that the results of the survey will (a) help us to create awareness with respect to skiing, and (b) will contribute to promoting the newschool-type of skiing.Method:Our research method is called social network analysis. The objective is to find out how community members are connected among each others, and how information sharing is taking place. In the survey, you will find two types of questions:- Structural question (To whom are you connected?)- Relational question (How close do you feel to your network alters?)In doing so, we are able to construct a social network map of the NS community, which helps to understand of “what is going on”. The results of the survey are visualized with so called social network maps (see the following two examples).

Source: Results of the NS newschoolers web survey pre-test
Source: http://www.orgnet.com/knowledge_maps.htmlOutcomeThe outcome of the survey is an extensive dataset of, hopefully, close to 83,000 responses, which allows us to turn the virtual NS community into a visible network of inter-skier relationships. Our goal is to publish interesting screenshots of the social network maps on the website, and we are going to provide you with some key analyses of the datasets. In doing so, everybody will get an overview of what is going on at newschoolers.com!IncentiveTo thank you for your time and effort, we will make a raffle among all the respondents to the survey. When you go through the survey, there is a question asking you for your NS username. Based on this username will give away four iTunes Music Gift Cards (worth $25 each).ProcedureYou will find the survey by clicking on or following this link: http://www.revolens.de/Surveys//TakeSurvey.asp?SurveyID=40Jlm3KL8m9MGIn the survey, you will find additional information about the survey and each question.Thank you very much for taking the time to read this post and to take the time to go through the survey. It’ll be an amazing experience to see how you all are interconnected in the NS community!You can always get in touch with me by either sending an eMail to thomas.langenberg@epfl.ch or an NS instant message to freeheel_hard, which is my username.Best,Thomas