I am very much a visual learner – too much text and I fall asleep within a few seconds!

So I was delighted to find VisualComplexity a website run by Matt Woolman that

intends to be a unified resource space for anyone interested in the visualization of complex networks. The project’s main goal is to leverage a critical understanding of different visualization methods, across a series of disciplines, as diverse as Biology, Social Networks or the World Wide Web.


It has collections of visualisations from Art to Biology to Business Networks to Knowledge Networks to Semantic Networks and about 15 other categories.

Here is an example under the category: Social Networks for Facebook made by Sebastian Van Sande

visualcomplexity-com facebook It doesn’t seem like much just looking at it though …  but when you click on the link it access your facebook account and

graphically explore your facebook social network. You can use it to see how all your contacts are connected to each other, and in the process disclose unknown common friends. Other FOAF (friend-of-a-friend) disclosure would be interesting, but unfortunately, the Facebook API doesn’t include this important bit of data.

The tool allows filtering your network by Gender and Relationship Status (single, engaged, etc). You can also choose to see the inner connections of your facebook network and play with the distance between nodes (friends).

I tried it and here is my fb graphic and it shows how my friends can be grouped into family, school and work contacts:

facebook network visualisationYou can click on any specific node to view more info and visit their profiles.

Pretty cool!