What do 10 million Facebook friendships look like? It pretty much looks like the world at night from space. Facebook intern Paul Butler made the map and was surprised by how elegantly it lit up the world. Facebook has truly gone global. From his Facebook post about the map:
I was interested in seeing how geography and political borders affected where people lived relative to their friends. I wanted a visualization that would show which cities had a lot of friendships between them.
To make the map Paul looked up 10 million friendship pairs, and listed the friends by current city, then tabulated the number of friendships between cities. He then mapped this connection strength to the latitude and longitude of the city.
The data rendering was a little bit more complicated, as Paul explains in the post:
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.
Many of the areas with few connections are regions with small populations (hello, Sahara and Amazon!) or low internet penetration. And the lack of connections to China would be because the government blocks Facebook access, though there is an almost identical site called Ren Ren Wang.
The dark vastness of Russia is explained by the fact that Facebook is only the seventh most popular social networking site in the country, with only two percent of Russia’s online audience using it. But it still beats MySpace, so that’s really all that matters.
Discoblog: Desperate For Facebook Friends? Buy Some!
Discoblog: Worst Science Article of The Week: Facebook Causes Syphilis
Discoblog: Teen Sues Mom for Hacking His Facebook Account
80beats: Facebook Unveils Its Messaging System—Just Don’t Call It Email
80beats: The Facebook Movie Comes Out Today. Is It Fact or Fiction?
80beats: Facebook CEO: People Don’t Really Want Privacy Nowadays, Anyway
DISCOVER: Map A World Full of Spam
DISCOVER: Map What Does the Internet Look Like?
Image: Facebook Engineering Page
One of the underrated pleasures of this modern world is developing more intimate relationships with one’s appliances and household objects–via Twitter.
Innovators have already connected rice cookers, toasters, house plants, and even a toilet to Twitter so that people can get crucial updates on these objects’ status. For example, MyToaster updates its twitter feed with messages like “toasting” and “toasted” so the toaster owner knows when to go pop that bread out.
The latest product to join the list of socially networked appliances is the Twettle–the tea kettle that tweets when the water is boiling and the time is right for steeping tea bags.
Developed by Ben Perman and Murat Multu, the Twettle comes in bright, happy colors; the British designers hope the product will eventually take off in the United Kingdom, where tea is a cornerstone of culture and life.
Wondering which Hollywood movie will be this weekend’s smash hit? Head straight to Twitter, as a new study (pdf) suggests the microblogging service offers the most accurate predictions of a movie’s success.
In a new paper about Twitter’s success at gauging a film’s fortunes, Sitaram Asur and Bernando Huberman from HP devised a simple model that tracks people’s tweets about a certain movie (for their study, they collected almost 3 million tweets). The researchers found that compared to the industry’s gold standard for movie success prediction, the Hollywood Stock Exchange, tweets were far more accurate in predicting how much money a movie would make.
The researchers’ system tracks the rate and frequency of movie mentions, and also categorizes the tweet reviews as either positive or negative. The Twitter findings reflect marketing realities, the researchers note: While movie studios can push people to the theaters with hype and pre-release marketing, it’s usually positive reviews and word-of-mouth that sustains people’s interest after a movie has been released.
Here’s what we know about the social networking site, Facebook. It can mysteriously suck away large portions of your day, and make you sneaky, nosy, and narcissistic. It can also, in some extreme cases, cause carpal tunnel syndrome from clicking through the bazillion vacation pictures you posted online. But does Facebook cause syphilis? The short answer is “no.” The longer one is “Are you nuts?”
But that didn’t stop British tabloid The Sun from cranking up its imagination and posting an article titled “Sex diseases soaring due to Facebook romps.”
The piece was based on a British National Health Service (NHS) report that noted that syphilis cases in the Teesside region, an area of northeast England, were up four fold. It said casual sex in the area had spiked and as a result of people not using condoms, a surprising number of women had contracted syphilis. So, from fewer than ten cases in 2008, the number had now gone up to 30.
In what looks like an act of conveniently looking the other way, social networking site Facebook doesn’t seem to mind that a new Facebook fad is violating the site’s terms of service.
If you are a self-respecting Facebooker, you must have come across a bunch of people changing their profile pictures during “Doppelganger Week,” in which people change their picture to that of the celebrity they think they resemble.
While this is allowing a busload of people to unabashedly proclaim that they resemble the world’s hottest celebrities, it also flies in the face of the Facebook terms of service. As CNET reports, the legalese states explicitly:
“You will not post content or take any action on Facebook that infringes or violates someone else’s rights or otherwise violates the law… We can remove any content or information you post on Facebook if we believe that it violates this Statement.” So unless you took that celebrity photo yourself or bought the rights to it, it’s probably infringing on someone’s copyright.
Go where the flock goes: That seems to be the new message from the Vatican last Saturday, when Pope Benedict XVI sent a message instructing his priests to adopt a “new media mindset.” The pope encouraged his priests to use all the digital tools at their disposal to preach the Gospel, version 2.0. Expect to see more priests online engaging in dialogue with the faithful, and maybe even a priestly Facebook page or two.
The Washington Post reports:
The Vatican has tried hard to keep up to speed with the rapidly changing field. Last year it opened a YouTube channel as well as a portal dedicated to the pope. The Pope2You site gives news on the pontiff’s trips and speeches and features a Facebook application that allows users to send postcards with photos of Benedict and excerpts from his messages to their friends.
When candidate Barack Obama was campaigning for president across the country, no one used social networking better than his camp. Now, after conquering Facebook and YouTube, POTUS wants you to keep in touch with a new iPhone app.
The iPhone app, dubbed The White House app, is free, and President Obama’s PR team hopes it will keep audiences connected to what’s going on in Washington. It’s available on iTunes.
The Washington Post reports:
The application comes packed with content, including the latest news items, videos, photos and blog posts from The White House. One feature that stands out is live video streaming, which enables iPhone and iPod Touch owners to watch the President’s public events at the White House as well as other events like key speeches and press briefings in real-time.
Whoever said money can’t buy friends is dead wrong…at least when it comes to the social networking site Facebook.
A new service called uSocial, which became available this week, offers the chance to purchase Facebook “friends” for the bargain price of $200 for 1,000 friends. If more is better (and more usually is), you can get 5,000 buds for the promotional rate of $654.30, lasting until mid-September.
Here’s how it works, according to the AP:
USocial logs in to a client’s Facebook profile or creates a new one. It seeks out people who would be a good fit—like car buffs if uSocial is trying to promote a specialty auto-parts company—and sends them friends requests tailored to that business. The requests don’t mention that uSocial is working on behalf of the business.
Perhaps not surprisingly, Facebook representatives say uSocial violates Facebook’s terms of service. They say that volunteering your account information makes the site less secure, and that doling out friend requests for someone else—as the uSocial service does—makes the social networking site less authentic. Plus, some critics warn that random”friend” requests could potentially really irritate Facebook users.
Sure, receiving “friend” requests from someone you’ve never met can get pretty annoying. But is Facebook really that authentic in the first place? Ask the person who has 2,000 so-called “friends”—no matter how they acquired them.
Discoblog: Stole a Piece of the Internets? Prepare to Be Arrested.
Discoblog: Worst Science Article of The Week: Twitter Will Make You Eeevil
Discoblog: Twitter to Replace World History in England Schools
Image: flickr / 4_eveR_younG
Have you seen Wired writer Evan Ratliff in the past few weeks? We’re guessing the answer is no—otherwise, we assume you would’ve claimed your $5,000 prize.
That’s because Ratliff is doing his best to keep his whereabouts unknown (even to friends and family) until Sept. 15. The goal of the stunt is to demonstrate how easy it can be to disappear under the radar, even in the digital age. ABC News reports:
[Ratliff] must stay hidden for one month with a bounty over his head.
But to keep things interesting, Ratliff can’t go entirely off the grid. Like any digital denizen, he has to keep up with social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter and make at least the occasional cell phone call or credit card transaction.
By posting those digital breadcrumbs to the contest’s online page, Wired hopes sleuths both high-tech and low will be enticed to join the hunt. Already, hundreds — maybe thousands — have taken the bait, populating Facebook pages, Twitter feeds and comment threads with tips and teasers about his whereabouts.
Ratliff apparently got the idea while writing about Matthew Alan Sheppard, who disappeared in an attempt to escape financial ruin. Wired‘s plot seems a little gimmicky, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t curious about where he is—and who (if anyone) will be able to track him down before time runs out.
Discoblog: My Water Broke! Time to Twitter!
Discoblog: Want a Job at Best Buy? Better Have 250 Twitter Followers
Discoblog: Twitter Used to Test Our “Psychic Abilities”
Image: flickr / Si1Very