Everyone was duly blown away by this amazing map of Facebook connections around the world, created by Facebook’s superstar intern Paul Butler.
Looking at it, a lot of people commented that it matched up to regional population density or per capita GDP — that is, the more people there are or the more money they make, the more Facebook accounts there are. But in truth, the picture is far more nuanced, and a bit more interesting, as Thorsten Gaetz shows us with his superb rev of Butler’s original.
Gaetz simply took the lines of Butler’s map, colored them black, and overlaid them against another map, showing all of the areas in the world with a population over 2 people per square mile. Which already is pretty revealing — you can see that vast tracts of land where plenty of people live are actually left out of Butler’s map altogether. What might explain that? Gaetz adds some helpful annotations of other social networking sites that dominate those uncovered regions, such as Orkut in India and South America, Vkontakte and Odnolassniki in Russia, and Ren Ren and Q Zone in China.
In other words, Facebook connections aren’t exactly the whole caboodle when it comes to online life. Not yet, anyway.