I get more and more convinced that we need to know the whole story to understand what happens in a network, the links are just the bones and without a discussion of their meaning, we often go so wrong in interpreting them. For example, think about about how influence – or pressure – can move through a network, using all different kinds of links as vehicles. In a network where we map out the flows of funding, lines of formal authority, links of political pressure (as the threat of mobilizing public opinion) it can work like this:
A civil society group uses political pressure on a donor pushing for a certain theme that the civil society group identifies with. The donor uses funding to influence government behavior in this issue. Government uses the formal lines of authority to actually implement the change. Only by drawing a multiplex network (different kinds of links) and getting an explanation from people who know the field, you can get the whole story.