Facebook Friendship Map Lights up the World

This year it is perhaps fitting that the founder of Face bookbecame Time’s Man of the Year.  This itemtells us more than any other just why what he has done is so important.  It was not even genius, it just was necessaryto empower album sharing a step ahead or a step behind the advent of electronicimages.  Once that was done, human needdrove the rest.

The Age of the Internet is truly upon us now and will be known assuch.  The internet is no longer aboutsharing information although it does that also. It is about the establishment of virtual communities throughout theglobe to supplant and reinforce the traditional rural community and the virtualgeographical community in the urban landscape. Face book has strengthened that tendency as an unintended consequence.

The map still shows Chinaholding out and also Iran.That cannot last.

Facebook Friendship Map Visualizes Connections Around The World

 Huffington Post   |  Catharine Smith First Posted: 12-14-10 11:59AM   |   Updated: 12-14-10 03:42 PM
Paul Butler, an internwith the Facebook data infrastructure engineering team, has created a gorgeous map of the world that illustrates thehuman connections on Facebook and the distances those relationships span.

"I was interested in seeing how geography andpolitical borders affected where people lived relative to their friends," Butler wrote in a Facebook post accompanying themap. "I wanted a visualization that would show which cities had a lot offriendships between them."

Fascinatingly, Butler did not set out to create a map of theworld, per say, although something distinctly map-like indeed materialized as aresult of his work.

Using available Facebook data, Butler examined a sampleof 10 million friendships, plotted the location of each person along latitudeand longitude lines and drew a line to connect each pair of friends. The morefriendships that existed between the same pair of cities, the brighter the lineconnecting them. As Butlerworked, he noticed a map emerging from the data.
He wrote:

Not only were continents visible, certaininternational borders were apparent as well. What really struck me, though, wasknowing that the lines didn't represent coasts or rivers or political borders,but real human relationships. Each line might represent a friendship made whiletravelling, a family member abroad, or an old college friend pulled away by thevarious forces of life.

Take a look at Butler's map (below), and notice the darkareas on the map that represent where Facebook use is less prevalent. Then,check out NASA's composite photograph of the earth at night (here) and note the striking similarity betweenthe two images.

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