Facebook Friends

Mapping Facebook FriendsThere is something very intriguing about this recent visualisation created by Mia Newman entitled: Mapping the World’s Friendships. It has a number of compelling features:

  • the visualisation design is particularly well-crafted – colours chosen, faded map features – all of which make the data front and centre;
  • the interactive ability to choose the country I am interested in and through a fluid transition see the ‘friends’ of residents of that country.

There may be limitations to what can be readily deduced from the displayed relationships, it is based entirely on Facebook data and on the complete social graphs of the those with publicly available data. It isn’t demonstrating official relationships, financial or economic relationships, it the newly emerging social engagement encouraged by social media. The challenge that is posed by using Facebook as the sole source of social data will tend to privilege certain demographics based on cultural and political adoption of Facebook as a social media.

Nonetheless, it is a fun visualisation and remains compelling. What do you think?

10 thoughts on “Facebook Friends”

  1. It’s the same result for.Canada. Australia no1 and the uk no.2. Interesting. Leads me to question how thorough the dataset really is. Thought the little comments vaguely attempting to explain the relationships cute but not to substantive.

    1. for Ireland 1.UK, 2 Down Under – where we emigrate to….
      3. Poland , Lithuania – massive number of these nationals living/working in Ireland
      5, Spain – where we go on holidays 🙂 makes perfect logical sense!!

      i do like the graphic search look and feel however “accurate” it is but then i’m easily amused 🙂

    2. Personally surprised that Iraq is No.4 on Sweden’s connections. Maybe the map works to a degree, providing certain insights into people’s movement?

      “Sweden tops the list for Iraqi refugees and has allowed more of Iraq’s refuge-seeking citizens to cross its borders than the United States has in recent years. The Swedish town of Sodertalje, for instance, took in over 6,000 Iraqis since 2003 and is fondly referred to as “Little Baghdad.”

      Read more: http://blogs.smithsonianmag.com/smartnews/2012/09/the-worlds-closest-international-relationships-according-to-facebook/#ixzz2K7qoNo4A

  2. Wow that is very cool.. However I’m not sure how accurate the data is.. It seems to be quite skewed. If open profiles are the only ones that were used, then there is an awful lot of data missing. I’m surprised Canada isn’t there for Ireland as that is a hotspot for Irish emigrants now.

  3. This is indeed an interesting graph. I was curious to see if the apparent contradictions you guys noticed with Canada, Ireland or Australia also happened in my own country… Well, it turns that the “friendships” in Spain are pretty accurate, at least from my own perspective.

    At first glance you see the expected connections with Latin America, but it also shows a strong connection with Romania. As the “Closer Look” box shows, Romania is where most immigrants have been coming to in recent years. At least in Spain’s case, I’d venture to say the connections have to do more with recent people’s movements into the country, rather than traditional connections or outward emigration (why aren’t Switzerland or Germany more heavily linked with Spain when those countries where the largest recipients of Spaniards in the 60’s?).

    With this idea in mind, the connections for Ireland make a bit more sense (Poland, Lithuania, Spain…)

  4. I’m having trouble getting my head around it and don’t see the purpose of it. I am assuming this information is gathered from those logging into facebook. In terms of accuracy – not everybody uses facebook. I think it focuses on the younger generation who are interested in facebook and forgets the ageing population or indeed the younger generation that may not be technically savy. In addition there has been speculation in the media that facebook interest is declining with less people logging into it every day.

  5. I note the comment with interest that only users with public settings are included. This seems to be quite limiting for the rersults to accurate, It is however a good indication of the numbers involved, in so much as they can only be higher than the data gathered.

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