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Summary:

Peter Warden analyzed the user profile data and friend settings from more than 200 million Facebook profiles, and found that they naturally segmented themselves into seven regional groups, based on the number of connections between users and those from other states.

Peter Warden, a former Apple engineer, likes to analyze data — so much so that he started scraping public profiles and photos from hundreds of millions of Facebook accounts about a year ago, and now has data collected from more than 200 million around the world. He wrote a fascinating post recently on his personal blog about what that data shows about how interconnected (or disconnected) users in the various American states are. The graph below is reprinted from that post, with Warden’s permission:

In a nutshell, Warden’s data analysis showed that Facebook users in the U.S. can be roughly segmented into seven regions, which he named facetiously:

  • Stayathomia: This belt’s defining feature is how near most people are to their friends, implying they don’t move far.
  • Dixie: Like Stayathomia, Dixie towns tend to have links mostly to other nearby cities rather than spanning the country.
  • Greater Texas: Unlike Stayathomia, there’s a definite central city to this cluster, otherwise most towns just connect to their immediate neighbors.
  • Mormonia: The only region that’s completely surrounded by another cluster, Mormonia mostly consists of Utah towns that are highly connected to each other, with an offshoot in Eastern Idaho.
  • Nomadic West: The defining feature of this area is how likely even small towns are to be strongly connected to distant cities; it looks like the inhabitants have done a lot of moving around the county.
  • Socalistan: LA is definitely the center of gravity for this cluster. Almost everywhere in California and Nevada has links to both LA and SF, but LA is usually first.
  • Pacifica: Tightly connected to each other, it doesn’t look like Washingtonians are big travelers compared to the rest of the West, even though a lot of them claim to need a vacation.

Of course, Warden’s data — which he collected in the course of analyzing Facebook profiles and fan pages worldwide for various corporate customers — only reflects what users of Facebook choose to reveal about themselves, and many don’t include all their friends or other information in their public profiles. As large as it is, Facebook also still represents only a small slice of the American population, and likely a fairly homogeneous slice at that, although the social network is becoming more cosmopolitan, according to the most recent demographic survey of Facebook users. Marshall Kirkpatrick has more detail on what Warden is up to in this post.

  1. Interesting data. Great map.

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  2. This is interesting but maybe shed some light on his methodology.

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  3. Stuart Gannes Monday, February 8, 2010

    Fascinating. Does this line up with real people movements?

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  4. [...] here to read the rest: The 7 Somewhat United States of Facebook – GigaOM Share and [...]

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  5. Interesting. Somewhat reminiscent of Joel Garreau’s The Nine Nations of North America (http://www.amazon.com/Nine-Nations-North-America/dp/0380578859) published over 20 years ago.

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    Also, they stopped Bank withdrawals, and today they reversed it and while reversing the money, they charged currency conversion fee, which is unprofessional as they money was never transferred to the end user anyway!

    Lets join the Facebook group, list our views and problems there and let our voice heard http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=297437668797

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  7. [...] Peter Warden has a great post up on his blog that looks at how Facebook users in different states are connected to each.  He finds that the U.S. can be divided into roughly seven regions, which are visualized above.  Be sure to read the full post. AKPC_IDS += "2304,"; 0 comment(s) tweetmeme_url = 'http://www.bivingsreport.com/2010/facebooks-regional-connections/'; tweetmeme_source = 'bivings'; tweetmeme_style = 'compact'; Share [...]

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  8. [...] GigaOM guides us to the data visualization former Apple engineer Peter Warden created as a result of digging through the 210 million profiles that populate Facebook. His latest findings revealed patterns by location, drawing connections between places that share friends. [...]

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  9. [...] This article was cited from http://www.gigaom.com – The 7 Somewhat United States of Facebook, By Mathew Ingram and Peter Warden. http://gigaom.com/2010/02/08/the-7-somewhat-united-states-of-facebook [...]

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  10. [...] The 7 Somewhat United States of Facebook Stayathomia: This belt’s defining feature is how near most people are to their friends, implying they don’t move far. [...]

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  11. That’s an interesting collection of data, but it seems like it really isn’t saying much. Is there something in this information that’s useful or is it just to look at and think, ‘Oh…that’s neat’?

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    1. That’s just a taste of the data he has compiled. Check out the Facebook Analytics site (linked to in the post) for more.

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    2. I think this map shows general patterns of connections between people. That might mean people around Seattle, and in Mormonia, connect more with people in their own smaller area, whereas people in the Eastern timezone have a broader pattern of Facebook connections.

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  12. [...] post from Mathew Ingram writes on GigaOM. He focuses more on the social mobility patterns on various parts of the U.S., but if you look at [...]

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  13. [...] The 7 Somewhat United States of Facebook Peter Warden, a former Apple (s aapl) engineer, likes to analyze data — so much so that he started scraping [...] [...]

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  14. [...] The 7 Somewhat United States of Facebook. [...]

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  15. Really interesting stuff, thanks for the post!

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  16. [...] No, literally: [...]

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  17. that’s kinda insulting to those of us near “mormonia” who aren’t damn mormons. next time you evaluate this try not to leave out the entire treasure valley and stop assuming that all of us are mormon. crappy!

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  18. A friend suggested this to me because of the inaccuracies regarding the Nomadic West. I think you would do better to claim you’re representing only what you know, which is clearly the coastlines. Try not to misrepresent aspects of the country you know little about.

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  19. Very interesting, but seems to confirm some of the socio-cultural boundaries that we’ve created in these United States. I think the map could be better about dealing with the Midwest.

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  20. Great start! I think that data probably has more to say that how it’s been (sometimes snarkily) summarized on his site. It would be fun to mine it for all it’s worth, and I would be interested to see what other trends and patterns can be discovered.

    I agree with ktrueman — it really is reminiscent of the “Nine Nations” book. Maybe something like this can provide some sort of empirical evidence of the idea.

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  21. You ain’t just whistling Dixie…you’re actually blogging and tweeting about it. And that’s cool.

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  22. [...] to some recent research done by Peter Warden, and as reported by GigaOM, it appears you can break up Facebook users into seven distinct and geographically-relevant [...]

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  23. Thank you for bring to my attention Warden’s work. It is particularly interesting to me since I am always interested in the psychology of society and how we all interact.
    Thanks again,
    David

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  24. very impressive!

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  25. [...] PDRTJS_settings_1003072_post_7212 = { "id" : "1003072", "unique_id" : "wp-post-7212", "title" : "How+the+US+is+divided+%28according+to+Facebook%29", "item_id" : "_post_7212", "permalink" : "http%3A%2F%2Fhalfdone.wordpress.com%2F2010%2F02%2F11%2Fhow-the-us-is-divided-according-to-facebook%2F" } This was on the front page of WordPress, it’s fascinating. It’s a data analysis of how people on Facebook connect, and it seems they group into some quite distinct regions. [...]

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  26. Interesting info. How’s this for Europe? http://martinsoler.com/category/hdr/

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  27. Great post

    the Data you had provided is very informative to all of us

    thanks for sharing and keep on posting more information

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  28. Extremely clever. So why the deception? The “hundreds of millions” turned me off right away … tell it like it is. Something over two million is NOT “hundreds of millions.”

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  29. Interesting. But how long will Facebook be popular? Is it something that will disappear in the next five years – and, if so, what will replace it?

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  30. [...] The 7 Somewhat United States of Facebook In a nutshell, Warden’s data analysis showed that Facebook users in the U.S. can be roughly segmented into seven regions, which he named facetiously: [...]

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  31. [...] The 7 Somewhat United States of Facebook from Gigaom [...]

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  32. [...] The 7 Somewhat United States of Facebook from Gigaom [...]

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  33. Greater Texas represent! And we’re about to invade Mormonia and take no prisoners.

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  34. [...] The 7 Somewhat United States of America – A pretty interesting study of collections of people across the country using Facebook. I guess it’s not all bad. [...]

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  35. [...] This, right here, is why you don’t invite engineers to parties.  For the past six months, Pete Warden has been data mining your Facebook account.   We’ll get to why this is creepy in a second.  Word on the street is he currently has 215 million public profile pages, which are then updated once a month.  Apparently Warden, an ex-Apple-engineer turned entrepreneur, started this “social graph analysis” effort after being frustrated with the maze of personnel at Apple.  Apparently,  like any large company, working through the maze of people to find the expertise or contacts you need can be a challenge.  Warden set out to build a company to solve that specific problem.  His analysis of user profiles suggests that Facebook can be divided into seven (mostly) distinct regions according to how connected the users are (or aren’t) with their friend networks.  Read the full story here. [...]

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  36. [...] Peter Warden has a great post up on his blog that looks at how Facebook users in different states are connected to each.  He finds that the U.S. can be divided into roughly seven regions, which are visualized above.  Be sure to read the full post. [...]

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  37. [...] network both in the U.S. and in countries around the world. We highlighted some of that research in this post, which showed how Warden’s analysis had come up with seven distinct segments of the United [...]

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  38. [...] network both in the U.S. and in countries around the world. We highlighted some of that research in this post, which showed how Warden’s analysis had come up with seven distinct segments of the United [...]

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  39. [...] do with some of the site’s profile data, before he was threatened with a lawsuit. Pete Warden scraped information from millions of profiles and then analyzed it to see the connections between states and between countries, and drew [...]

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