Conference Paper

Representing connections: how visualizations shape understandings of networks


Wilson A (2017) Representing connections: how visualizations shape understandings of networks. 4th International Visual Methods Conference, University of Brighton, 16.09.2015-18.09.2015. Visual Methodologies, 5 (1), pp. 67-79.

This article raises questions about a type of image that is becoming increasingly ubiquitous: network visualizations. Such visualizations – particularly of social networks – are used to demonstrate an interconnectedness that seems to have taken on an almost ideological tone. Images of networks that seem dense, well-connected and mixed are presented in a positive light, while images of networks that seem to show segregation, low levels of connectedness or isolation are presented as evidence that something needs to change. They are seductive in their visual appeal, their apparent readability, the fixity they confer on both the networks they represent and the sense that they are conveying facts. However, this paper uses a case study to argue that they are far from neutral, and that they need to be approached with a high level of criticality.

data visualization; network visualizations; social network analysis; visual literacy; Twitter


Visual Methodologies: Volume 5, Issue 1

Publication date31/12/2017
Publication date online30/09/2015
Publisher URL
Conference4th International Visual Methods Conference
Conference locationUniversity of Brighton