Understand Network Centrality in Five Minutes

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Sometimes terms and words can freak people out unnecessarily. “Big Words” scare people – that’s just the way we’re wired. But, they don’t have to if we break them down to their basic components. We just need to take a deep breath and admit to ourselves that we’re being awfully judgmental of these words before ever giving them a chance.

Let’s take the term “network centrality” as a quick example – directly relevant to everything subscribed to here at Fractal Scale.

It has two parts: 1. network, 2. centrality.

  1. Question: What is a network? Answer: A group of interconnected things (anything).
  2. Question: What is centrality? Answer: To be in the middle or at the core of something – being central.

The bigger question?

Question: What is Network Centrality?

Answer: the state of something being central (or core) to the network it is part of. Point blank. That’s really all it is.

Mark Thornton of Princeton and MySocialBrain.org developed a quick and easy interactive tool for understanding this concept.

Here’s an example I made – check out the tool and play around with it yourself. It helps to imagine each “node” (dot) as something and the network you’re building as a particular group of those somethings. Let’s pretend the below network is a network of people – the brightest red one there is the most central to the network because it has the shortest number of links to the rest of the people (dots) in the network.


Well, hope that was honestly just five minutes!


*Relevancy Check

Why does network centrality matter to your business? Because it is at the core of many, and the best, growth strategies. Think about influencer marketing – what are you doing really when you pay someone prominent in your industry to talk about your business? You’re taking an expensive short-cut to the centre of your network (or domain). The influencer is what they are – influential – because they are at the centre of a particular network and everyone is looking in.

When you start to look deeper at many growth methodologies you will see that in some form or another they are working toward bringing your business to the core of its domain.



  1. Pingback: Understand Network Centrality in Five Minutes – Blog – Clausehound

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