Create a sociogram based on friends in a social network platform

  • Goal

To make a sociomap (a visual representation of a person’s friendships using photographs), based on the friends list in social network sites like Facebook, Netlog, MSN  and so on.

  • Activity

Making a sociomap in individual counselling involves thinking about relationships and interactions between young people from the classroom, family and friendships etc. The aim in making a sociomap using the friends in MSN, or social software sites is to give young people an idea how they deal with the mass of ‘friends’ on the net. In this exercise the counsellor works with the same circles of relationship as are found in traditional sociomaps, but uses the online friends list. Free software like Picasa makes it easy to prepare photos of friends which are then printed off and then stuck on to a picture showing the relationships between them all. Many young people have between 300 and 1,000 friends in their friends list. The sociomap can make them understand the connections between these friendships. For counsellor and youngster, it creates a visual image of who the friends are, how they interact, who really supports them when they are in trouble.

  • Tools and Resources Used

Profiles on social networking sites are used, and the young people have to go to their profile on Netlog, Facebook, Myspace, Bebo, MSN etc, work out how many friends they have  and then use Picasa to copy pictures of the friends, print them and then paste them onto the sociomap. Using a flip chart can help to make this whole exercise more fun.

  • Results and Evaluation

In itself, this is an easy way to create a standard sociomap using the tools that young people use every day. Young people often do not realise how many people they include in their friends list. For them it is an exercise in subdividing real and presumed friendship statistics and then comparing them. Sociomapping is mainly used in guidance to improve the opportunities for socio-emotional development.