Facebook Connections

Posted: December 14, 2010 in Misc., People, Photos, Places
Tags: , , , , ,

(Source: Guardian UK. Click on the image to go to the guardian article associated with the image.)

There’s so much to learn from this image that the the analyst in me is almost getting an orgasm. Just a brief viewing of the map, brought out quite a few observations.

For starters, it look at the concentrations (or lack) of bright spots globally:

  1. Missing China: FB blocked.
  2. Missing Brazil: Orkut Rules.
  3. Much of former USSR missing: Local SNs still dominate (except for bright spots for Moscow & Kiev)
  4. Ex-soviet Baltic states lit-up: Their political break from Russia is also evident in popularity of FB.
  5. Dim Spain: has significantly less members than rest of Western Europe, including Portugal. Is there another powerful SN there?
  6. Dark Africa: still, mostly, the Dark Continent
  7. Empty Australia: that explains the ultra-low population density, doesn’t it?
  8. Middle East: Few islands of (relatively) liberal thought in the ocean of darkness that is Middle-East.1

Most of the connections between/within Europe, N.America and Asia are too dense to decipher much, so looking at a few surprises from the rest:

  1. The strongish ray of connections between Nigeria & Indonesia: What’s happening here?
  2. Strong connection between Chile & South-East Australia: Mine worker associations?
  3. The bunches of rays between Argentina & Indonesia: What’s up here?
  4. Strong connections between Portugal/Spain and the Caribbean: I thought Caribbean was mainly English/French speaking. Or are those lines streaking down to Venezuela, Columbia & Ecuador?
  5. Chile-Spain versus Chile-US: Despite a shared language, connections between Chile & Spain are much weaker than Chile & US although the rest of Spanish speaking South America has strong connections with Iberia. Is this an indicator of decades of strong military-political ties between Chile & US, of the strong trade links between them or something else?

Looking more closely at India and it’s neighbourhood now:

  1. The ’empty’ Thar desert.
  2. Dim areas in India – Bihar, Orissa, Chattisgarh & Jharkhand: Signifying underdevelopment, which may also be providing fodder for the Maoist violence?
  3. Pakistan: Other than Peshawar & Quetta, there are barely any lit up areas outside the Indus valley.
  4. Middle-East: Strong connections with Kerala, Bombay and Karachi.
  5. South-East Asia: Similar strong connections with Andhra and TN.
  6. Sri Lanka: Surprisingly strong connections between Sri Lanka and Perth / Western Australia.
  7. Nepal: A clear East-West divide. Tourism & Kathmandu power the east while the agrarian & Maoist-supporting west lags.
  8. India: Lack of any strong ‘long-distance’ connections in India makes the North-South divide clearly visible
    • Delhi is strongly connected to areas in Haryana, Punjab, HP, UP, MP, Rajasthan and, even, Calcutta. Thus, still the heart of much of hindi-speaking India.
    • Bangalore is strongly connected to Chennai, Hyderabad, Mangalore, Coimbatore and much of Kerala. The new heart of Deccan.
    • Bombay is strongly connected to Bangalore, Hyderabad, Goa/Mangalore/Kerala, Gujarat & Delhi. Still the most nationally-integrated of our metros. Yet, much of it’s bright lines end up within Maharashtra & Gujarat – thus, more regional than some of us would like to believe.
    • Calcutta is dimmer than even Dhaka. Seems the Communists and Didi have done more damage here than the Islamists, Army & Begums have done there.
  9. Andaman-Nicobar and Lakshadweep are totally absent. Compare this to, say, Maldives, Mauritius or the Pacific islands to realise how neglected they are inside the giant Indian republic.
  10. India is barely connected with much of the world – former USSR, Latin America, Africa, Turkey/Israel/Egypt, Korea/Japan. Most of our connections seem to be with places with Indian emigration – Europe, US, SE Asia & Middle-East.

It seems we, Indians, are pretty much still a closed society – hardly interacting with people outside our region, forget about rest of the world. Hardly seems the melting pot of cultures we like to project ourselves as.

HT for the brilliant graph: @danslee, who shall soon be posting a nice blog on what an Englishman, who admits to have never traveled east of Switzerland, knows about India.

1. Does the middle east have some local, perhaps islam-friendly social networks that prevent spread of FB in there?

  1. […] The busiest day of the year was December 16th with 74 views. The most popular post that day was Facebook Connections. […]

  2. Wow, that’s some coverage of the Map by yourself btw! I love the way you’ve broken down the countries and given thought to why those connections may be the way they are.

    The thing that strike me for than anything about the image is not the image itself (which is amazing), that is the person that created it. The Facebook intern Paul Butler.

    I love that out of all the people that work for Facebook, it took the fresh set of eyes from a new person to create one of the most shared imagery from Facebook to date. Can you even imagine how many desktops this graphic now sits on as a wallpaper? Wow!

    So, what does this mean for us? We know that ‘sleeping on it’ is the best way to make big decisions that affect our lives and lives of others, but I think business has a lot to learn from this as well.

    I recall when I used to work at a ISP, I had work experience people spend time in my department and they were always given some rubbish work and left to get on with things, maybe sit with some others and see how other people work. What a waste of a brain!

    And now I’m thinking about it, why aren’t new employees treated like that facebook intern? Y’know, giving those fresh eyes a good overview of something new and precious and being asked to work with it for a while to see if anything different can be created/improved?

    What a way of being introduced into the company. Trusted immediately, valued and contributing to great cause, either in data visualisation or something else pertinent to the companies objectives (or not). Either way… using that brand new brain is often wasted I feel.

    I have lots of thoughts about how companies do not maximise the capacity of our learning… this Facebook picture really illustrates it to me.

    To anyone reading this. The next person you hire. Set aside sometime and a small project that they can own, no pressure, just lots of information, let them sift through it and see what observations they can come up with. I think just like Paul Butler, if you have hired the right person, they may just amaze you.

    Great post. Mark :)

  3. […] post was meant to be a follow-up to yesterday’s post about that Facebook connections info-graphic. Isn’t […]

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