What is a Social Graph?

The term social graph became part of the Internet vernacular following its use at the Facebook F8 conference on May 24th, 2007. It was used to explain how the newly introduced Facebook Platform would take advantage of the relationships between individuals to offer a richer online experience. The definition has been expanded to refer to a social graph of all Internet users – “Facebook Unveils Platform for Developers of Social Applications” Facebook. Retrieved July 11, 2010.


A representation of the interconnection of relationships in an online social network. (Google)

  • A term used to represent a user’s base of friends or followers. Also occasionally used to represent the combined group of influence a user has in the social media space. (Ignite Social Media)
  • A graph that depicts personal relations of internet users. In short, it is a model or representation of a social network, where the word graph has been taken from graph theory to emphasize that rigorous mathematical analysis will be applied as opposed to the relational representation in a social network. (Wikipedia)


  • World Population 7.395b – Internet Users 3.419b – Active Social Media Users 2.307m – Active Mobile Social Users 1.968b (Global Digital Snapshot January 2016)
  • For the period January 2015-16, Active Social Media Users grew 10% (+219m) & Active Mobile Social Users grew 17% (+283m) globally.
  • In January 2016, there were 511m Active Social Media Users and 437m Active Mobile Social Users in the Americas. 
  • 10 years ago only 7% of the US population used one or more social networking site. Now that figure has increased almost tenfold, to 65%. Of those who use the internet, a massive majority – 76% of Americans – use social media.

Source: Smart Insights

Take Aways

  • Plan expansion of your social graph to influence achievement of your social media goals. As your social graph is a representation of your family, personal and business relationships, growing relationships through online communities can be an efficient way to develop your network and overcome the physical barriers present in the physical world.
  • Establish your social graph management approach in one channel and then replicate it across other sites to remain efficient. Focus your relationship growth plan on one channel that you have mastered and expand to other channels to expand your ability to listen with your eyes.
  • Grow your network with the right intent as well as technique. Maintain transparency and give to your network without the goal of reciprocity to establish reputation, develop authority and cultivate influence.


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