Friday, December 17, 2010

What Does Facebook Look Like from Space?

Have you ever wondered what the world of Facebook would look like if you plotted friendship ties along a map? Well, neither had I, until I read about this Facebook INTERN's amazing project.

The method to the intern, Paul Butler's, madness?

I defined weights for each pair of cities as a function of the Euclidean distance between them and the number of friends between them. Then I plotted lines between the pairs by weight, so that pairs of cities with the most friendships between them were drawn on top of the others. I used a color ramp from black to blue to white, with each line's color depending on its weight. I also transformed some of the lines to wrap around the image, rather than spanning more than halfway around the world.
Interesting how all of China, nearly all of Africa, and most of Russia are almost entirely dark on the Facebook map. Censorship, anyone?


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