Social-network analysis generally helps researchers understand how groups of people interact. The author uses small-scale egocentric social networks, based on volitional, explicit connections, to understand how people manage their personal and group communications. Two research projects using this approach show that such networks can give researchers important insight into the people who communicate online. Soylent, a project based on email, shows several common patterns in social interaction. The Roles project, based on Usenet newsgroups, suggests that various online social spaces can behave very differently from each other.