A sociogram is a graph database that depicts the relationships among individuals in a group in order to map the group's social network. Social scientist Jacob L. Moreno developed the sociogram in the mid-20th century as a quantitative method for analyzing social relationships in prisons and reform schools. His goal was to create a sociometric tool that would help administrators learn how reciprocal and non-reciprocal communication patterns, status, alliances and hidden agendas affected a group's ability to remain cohesive.
Sociograms for small groups can often be created through direct observation, but large group mapping benefits by surveys that ask questions about an individual's relationships with other group members. In business, sociograms are often used to gain insights that will help create more effective communication patterns, improve members' active participation on projects and foster a culture of innovation. This is especially important in large organizations with hierarchial corporate cultures.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is credited with first using the term social graph in 2007 to refer to the network of connections and relationships documented by Facebook members. As marketers began to understand the potential for using sociograms to improve revenue, software developers responded by making it easier to find group leaders and experiment with influencer marketing campaigns.