Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The United States of Facebook

PeteSearch finds some patterns in the ways Facebook users are connected to each other:



The colored clumps represent areas within which users' friends tend to be found. That is, someone within Greater Texas, for instance, will tend to have more friends within that region than outside of it. Lines connect cities which tend to have more friend connections.

Says Pete: "Some of these clusters are intuitive, like the old south, but there's some surprises too, like Missouri, Louisiana and Arkansas having closer ties to Texas than Georgia." On Stayathomia:
Stretching from New York to Minnesota, this belt's defining feature is how near most people are to their friends, implying they don't move far. In most cases outside the largest cities, the most common connections are with immediately neighboring cities, and even New York only has one really long-range link in its top 10. Apart from Los Angeles, all of its strong ties are comparatively local.

In contrast to further south, God tends to be low down the top 10 fan pages if she shows up at all, with a lot more sports and beer-related pages instead.
On Dixie:
Dixie towns tend to have links mostly to other nearby cities rather than spanning the country. Atlanta is definitely the hub of the network, showing up in the top 5 list of almost every town in the region. Southern Florida is an exception to the cluster, with a lot of connections to the East Coast, presumably sun-seeking refugees.

God is almost always in the top spot on the fan pages, and for some reason Ashley shows up as a popular name here, but almost nowhere else in the country.
On Mormonia: "It's worth separating from the rest of the West because of how interwoven the communities are, and how relatively unlikely they are to have friends outside the region." The Nomadic West has much longer lines of connection than other regions, which is not terribly surprising. Socalistan is not simply Californiastan (or California for that matter) because the center of gravity clearly bends LA-wards. And Pete observes that Pacifica is "the most boring of the clusters."

All this, Pete notes, is "qualitative, not quantitative," so data caveat emptor and all that. Still, an interesting representation.

Via Andrew Sullivan.

40 comments:

Richard said...

Whats not commented is that there's a heavy connection between both Atlanta and Chicago and Atlanta and the East Coast. The whole West Coast seems pretty connected as well. I also think he's letting population affect his designation of Socalistan. SoCal's the hub of the West Coast because it has as many people as the rest of the West Coast combined. Adjust for population, and you'll see a line running down the entire West Coast.

I also don't know why he's so surprised that Louisiana, AK, and MO are more connected to Texas than Georgia, considering that all 3 states are closer to Texas than Georgia and Texas has over twice as many people as Georgia.

K H D and sometimes T said...

The entire west coast looks to have more lines going off-continent than anywhere else. What's that about?

K H D and sometimes T said...

or maybe that's just the tiny map.

Richard said...

The West Coast is very connected with Asia. When I lived out in SF, I daresay my native Californian friends had more friends who were from Asia than friends from east of the Rockies.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Chachy said...

What I don't get is all the lines shooting off from the West Coast to like Tonga or something.

Richard said...

Australia?

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I am quite sure they will learn lots of new stuff here than anybody else! Whats not commented is that there's a heavy connection between both Atlanta and Chicago and Atlanta and the East Coast.

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