A social network is a social structure that is made up of a collection of social actors (such as people or organisations), sets of dyadic links, and other social interactions amongst actors. Social actors may be individuals or organisations. The social network view offers not only a set of tools for examining the structure of full social entities but also a number of ideas that explain the patterns that may be seen in these structures. This perspective was developed by David Weinberger. The research into these structures makes use of social network analysis in order to recognise local and global trends, discover important entities, and investigate the dynamics of the network.
Social psychology, sociology, statistics, and graph theory all contributed to the development of the academic area of social network analysis, which is by its very nature an interdisciplinary field of study. Author of some of the first structural theories in sociology, Georg Simmel focused on the dynamics of triads and the "web of group attachments" in his work. Jacob Moreno is given credit for designing the first sociograms in the 1930s in order to investigate the dynamics of interpersonal interactions. In the 1950s, these ideas received a mathematical formalisation, and by the 1980s, theories and methodologies of social networks had become prevalent in the field of social and behavioural sciences. Analysis of social networks is not only widely used in the field of sociology but also in a variety of other social and formal sciences. It is now considered to be one of the most important paradigms in modern sociology. It is a component of the burgeoning area of network science, along with a number of other complex networks.
The social network is a conceptual framework that may be used effectively in the field of social science to investigate the connections that exist between people, groups, organisations, and even whole civilizations (social units, see differentiation). A social structure that is determined by such interactions is what is meant when someone uses this word. The convergence of a social unit's many different social relationships may be seen in the ties that unit uses to connect to other social units. This theoretical method must inherently have a relational stance. The idea that social phenomena should be mainly thought of and explored via the qualities of interactions between and within units, as opposed to the features of these units themselves, is an axiom that underpins the social network approach to the study of social interaction. Therefore, one of the most prominent complaints levelled against social network theory is that it often disregards the agency of individuals, despite the fact that this may not be the case in actual reality (see agent-based modeling). Network analytics are valuable to a diverse variety of research organisations specifically due to the fact that these network topologies are formed by a large number of distinct kinds of relations, either alone or in combination. These subjects of study fall under the umbrella of social science and include, but are not limited to, anthropology, biology, communication studies, economics, geography, information science, organisational studies, social psychology, sociology, and sociolinguistics.