The face of the planet
December 14, 2010 3:17 PM   Subscribe

A map of the world drawn entirely through Facebook connections. "All of the country borders are entirely drawn using Facebook friend connections."
posted by Rory Marinich (58 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
 
I couldn't figure out what that "Island" was to the west of Australia, until I looked at a map and realized it was Perth, Western Australia.
posted by Badgermann at 3:22 PM on December 14, 2010 [3 favorites]


This is incredible. Direct link to the full-size image (4MB *.jpeg).
posted by deticxe at 3:23 PM on December 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Fairly solid proof that Facebook isn't a social networking website but a social network website. People are still friends with people who live close to them, mostly.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 3:26 PM on December 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


What is that thing south of Hawaii? Kiribati? Does Kiribati really have that big a presence on Facebook?
posted by phunniemee at 3:27 PM on December 14, 2010


Look at the no-man's land at the 49th parallel. It's like we have our own DMZ in our backyard.
posted by yeti at 3:27 PM on December 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


You can see I-5 from space
posted by 0xFCAF at 3:28 PM on December 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


And an Iron Curtain of sorts, east of Poland.
posted by yeti at 3:29 PM on December 14, 2010


My my, poor Canada. According to this map, at least, we only exist as the 20km or so directly north of the US border.
posted by sarastro at 3:29 PM on December 14, 2010 [3 favorites]


India and Pakistan still not talking to each other. Af-Pak connections look solid though.
posted by vidur at 3:33 PM on December 14, 2010


People are still friends with people who live close to them, mostly.

The Propinquity Hypothesis survives Facebook, after all...
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 3:34 PM on December 14, 2010


From the link: Even if the world was dark and totally unmapped, Facebook could produce a remarkably good approximation of most of its continents’ boundaries, and even the borders of some countries.

No. That "map" was made by drawing lines between points on a map.
posted by dsword at 3:38 PM on December 14, 2010 [5 favorites]


Yeah, that line is pretty idiotic. Without knowing exactly where countries and cities are, that map couldn't be drawn at all. I suppose you could get something homeomorphic to that map though.
posted by kmz at 3:45 PM on December 14, 2010


The little dark spot west of San Jose is me not using Facebook.


FACEBOOKIST
posted by special-k at 3:45 PM on December 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


I guess I'm not surprised to see blackness in China, but where is Russia? The two of them (along with Kazakhstan, Mongolia, etc.) form a conspicuously large void. Is this just poverty, or something else? Even many parts of third-world Africa — Ghana, Kenya, and Namibia, for example — are more active and better defined than anywhere in those more modernized countries. Or am I overestimating the affluence of that part of the world? Seems I'm always stumbling across Russian web sites, so I assume the people there would have a large digital footprint.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 3:50 PM on December 14, 2010


As the link notes, China, Russia, and Brazil are dominated by other social networking sites.
posted by kmz at 3:53 PM on December 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


serves me right for getting distracted by the pretty picture and not reading all the text
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 3:54 PM on December 14, 2010


It is a pretty picture, you have to admit.
posted by Lutoslawski at 3:59 PM on December 14, 2010


I can see my house!
posted by rtha at 4:00 PM on December 14, 2010


I can see my house!

That's Yorvit. on catbook.
posted by special-k at 4:01 PM on December 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


Fairly solid proof that Facebook isn't a social networking website but a social network website. People are still friends with people who live close to them, mostly.

Where do I go for a social networking site, then? All I can seem to find are forums.
posted by LogicalDash at 4:03 PM on December 14, 2010


Outer Hebrides reprazent!
posted by dougrayrankin at 4:07 PM on December 14, 2010


People are still friends with people who live close to them, mostly.

But check out that bright swoosh of connections between New Zealand and South Africa. Who knew?

Re the Russia thing - the first site I saw this on said that the lack of a presence for Russia had to do with the fact that Facebook isn't as popular as Live Journal there. Looking at the big image, though, I think it's probably the same issue that Canada has - there are islands of Facebook presence in the major cities in European Russia - that huge void you see is Siberia. The same site claimed that the gaps in South America could be explained by the popularity of Orkut, but I have a strong feeling the gap in South America is the Amazon, the Atacama desert, and Patagonia.
posted by Sara C. at 4:18 PM on December 14, 2010 [3 favorites]


This has confirmed for me what I've long known to be true: Malaysians love the hell out of some Facebook.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:22 PM on December 14, 2010 [3 favorites]


Why do the Basque hate Facebook?
posted by wcfields at 4:29 PM on December 14, 2010


Something's not right here. It's easier to see in the full-sized link - the linkage between Hawaii and the continental US is brighter than almost any other link out there. It's much more so than between, say, the UK and Canada. I realise that it's a fairly concentrated stream to the west coast, but come on - there aren't that many Hawaiians. Is it just an illusion (and hence a bad illustration) or am I missing something?
posted by jimmythefish at 4:32 PM on December 14, 2010


> The little dark spot west of San Jose is me not using Facebook

Heh. When I first saw this earlier my immediate reaction was that the underlying landmass map should be light and all of the Facebook usage would be darkness, much more faithfully representing the dark emptiness that Facebook brings to the world.
posted by Burhanistan at 4:34 PM on December 14, 2010 [3 favorites]


Is it just an illusion (and hence a bad illustration) or am I missing something?

Everyone out here has five Facebook accounts, plus one for each pet.
posted by Joey Michaels at 4:40 PM on December 14, 2010


Svalbard seems surprisingly well-connected for a place having less than 3000 inhabitants.
posted by ymgve at 5:01 PM on December 14, 2010


Probably because there's a lot of Norwegian university students and researchers there.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:03 PM on December 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Svalbard seems surprisingly well-connected for a place having less than 3000 inhabitants.

Yeah, it seems to confirm what some others have said: People mostly connect to their fellow citizens. The connections from Svalbard rain down over the coast of Norway and almost nowhere else. (There are a fair number of Russians on Svalbard, but Facebook is not popular in Russia.)

(This also explains the case of Hawaii, I would think.)
posted by Dumsnill at 5:10 PM on December 14, 2010


It would be interesting to see other social networking sites lit up with other colors.
posted by delmoi at 5:14 PM on December 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


It would be interesting to see other social networking sites lit up with other colors.

Myspace would need sparkly sequins.
posted by special-k at 5:16 PM on December 14, 2010 [3 favorites]


Something's wrong here. How is it that this isn't a solid white field?
posted by BeerFilter at 5:18 PM on December 14, 2010


That is actually pretty nuts. Who would have thought the Internet would turn into this. I used to dial into a shell in Arizona just to get bitnet email.
posted by Ad hominem at 5:22 PM on December 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


MetaFilter: I used to dial into a shell in Arizona just to get bitnet email.
posted by jimmythefish at 5:25 PM on December 14, 2010 [3 favorites]


Aww leave me alone. Those 4 wierdos I got bitnet email from were my only friends.

Anyone still on bitnet hit me up I am adhom!az!aznet
posted by Ad hominem at 5:31 PM on December 14, 2010


In before:

MetaFilter: Those four wierdos I got bitnet email from were my only friends.
posted by Ad hominem at 5:43 PM on December 14, 2010 [4 favorites]


delmoi: "It would be interesting to see other social networking sites lit up with other colors"

No lines, just a colored region map.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:48 PM on December 14, 2010


Albeit from 2007. Wow, what a difference. Heh.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:49 PM on December 14, 2010


Quick and dirty Google Earth overlay. I didn't manage to import it into Google Maps, sadly.
posted by ymgve at 6:03 PM on December 14, 2010


Let's try that once more.
posted by ymgve at 6:04 PM on December 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


What really struck me, though, was knowing that the lines didn’t represent coasts or rivers or political borders, but real human relationships. Each line might represent a friendship made while travelling, a family member abroad, or an old college friend pulled away by the various forces of life.
As distances vanish and the people can flow freely from place to place, society will cross a psychological specific heat boundary and enter a new state. No longer a solid or liquid, we have become as a vapor and will expand to fill all available space. And like a gas, we shall not be easily contained. - Sister Miriam Godwinson, "But for the Grace of God"
posted by JDHarper at 6:06 PM on December 14, 2010 [4 favorites]


Cuba is about the size of Key West, apparently.
posted by oddman at 6:19 PM on December 14, 2010


Without knowing exactly where countries and cities are, that map couldn't be drawn at all

If everyone simply had gps coordinates, and not city/country designations, the map would look exactly the same, yeah?
posted by billyfleetwood at 6:58 PM on December 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


As a non-Facebooker, I can only assume I'm on an ucharted island keeping company with a skipper, a firstmate, a millionare and wife, a professor, a movie star and some farm girl.
posted by jonmc at 7:00 PM on December 14, 2010


until I looked at a map and realized it was Perth, Western Australia.
               .-_|\
              /     \
      Perth ->*.--._/
                   v  <>
posted by kenko at 7:16 PM on December 14, 2010 [4 favorites]


It's a somewhat cute conceit, but the most obvious country outlines came from water. Europe was relatively hard to discern individual countries; the France-Germany line definitely didn't "pop" as expected. What did stand out were the Spain-France line, and Italy, but that's not due to connections so much as mountains. People don't live on those high mountains any more than they live in the oceans or seas.
posted by explosion at 8:23 PM on December 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


No lines, just a colored region map.

That map is severely outdated. 2007 was eons ago in social networking time as the dominance of MySpace there attests.

Here is the map for December 2010. Russians and most of the former Soviet bloc use Vkontakte, while the Chinese use Qzone.

... You call that a monopoly. Zuckerberg I am disappoint.
posted by dgaicun at 9:03 PM on December 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


This is really cool! You can see strong language lines: US to Britain, Northern/Western Africa to France, South America (except Brazil) to Spain. The Philippines light up like a beacon, expected for a former US colony, and you can see little specks in China at Hong Kong, where there is no Great Firewall, and Beijing, where students at Beijing University have figured out how to get around the firewall. Bangkok is a hub in Southeast Asia. The Arabian Pennisula is totally dark except for Israel and Lebanon, and that little triangle to the south-east of Turkey is probably US military personal stationed in Bagdad.

Turkey is, clearly, a part of Europe - at least according to this map.
posted by subdee at 9:15 PM on December 14, 2010


and there is a little dark splot centered right above my house considering that i have recently deleted my facebook profile for all eternity...
posted by lakersfan1222 at 9:51 PM on December 14, 2010


What is that thing south of Hawaii? Kiribati? Does Kiribati really have that big a presence on Facebook?

Tahiti, and the smalled cluster to the west is Samoa. Pacific island resident represent!
posted by mexican at 1:27 AM on December 15, 2010


Heh. See also a global map of light polllution.

In other news, Facebook's users are pretty much where people are.
posted by MuffinMan at 3:53 AM on December 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


Give or take a billion.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 3:56 AM on December 15, 2010


My friendships don't travel along great circle routes but instead bore straight through the earth.
posted by TheShadowKnows at 5:35 AM on December 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's a little weird to see the Philippines show up so brightly, since as recently as last year, Friendster was the dominant social networking platform there.
posted by thewittyname at 6:11 AM on December 15, 2010



"The territory no longer precedes the map, nor does it survive it. It is nevertheless the map that precedes the territory - precession of simulacra - that engenders the territory, and if one must return to the fable, today it is the territory whose shreds slowly rot across the extent of the map. It is the real, and not the map, whose vestiges persist here and there in the deserts that are no longer those of the Empire, but ours. The desert of the real itself."

- Jean Baudrillard, Simulacra and Simulation
posted by Pastabagel at 6:53 AM on December 15, 2010


Heh. See also a global map of light polllution.

I love how weirdly light-polluted the Falklands are. I've heard it's a consequence of squid fishing; ships turn on huge floodlights to draw squids to the surface and then trawl in the little buggers
posted by Riptor at 7:23 AM on December 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


That's quite an amazing map/graphic there. I had seen it before a couple of days ago but didn't read the headline, it was on google images during a search and I clicked it and thought that it was just a map of people's migration or plane rides (which is kinda silly, looking at it again). And lo, here it is again on Metafilter explained. This is my first year here and I love this place and posts like this are part of why.

Peace!
posted by fantodstic at 9:28 PM on December 15, 2010


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