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Facebook offers a neat look at America

February 15, 2010

Here’s an opinion of mine: In the history of Industry, no company knows more about its customers than Facebook. I wondered on this blog if Facebook can figure out how to monetize that information, but that isn’t the point of this post.

If you had of asked me how open that information is yesterday to people like me, I would have said rather closed. Turns out, it’s rather open. Close to 210 million of the 400 million people have open profiles in some way.

That’s a staggering number. It’s a wow number actually. Because, as a marketer, that means that there is public data on 200 million people. And sure enough, people are beginning to collect that data and use it to tell interesting stories.

This is a map of the US analyzing the public profiles of people in the US. The lines connect people to other people around the US, so a place like NY City (in Stayathomia) has many connections to people all over the country. The author of the study then created places in the US, based on people’s connections to other people in the US. Thus, you get “Stayathomia”, people who — based on being connected to people almost exclusively in their own area — stay close to home.

His post calls out all the places on the map, so I’ll share Dixie.

Dixie
Probably the least surprising of the groupings, the Old South is known for its strong and shared culture, and the pattern of ties I see backs that up. Like Stayathomia, Dixie towns tend to have links mostly to other nearby cities rather than spanning the country. Atlanta is definitely the hub of the network, showing up in the top 5 list of almost every town in the region. Southern Florida is an exception to the cluster, with a lot of connections to the East Coast, presumably sun-seeking refugees.

God is almost always in the top spot on the fan pages, and for some reason Ashley shows up as a popular name here, but almost nowhere else in the country.

A public profile means they share all content of their page with anyone (not just Facebook). So, you had to know that someone would get the idea to pull all the data and analyze it.

The social web is throwing massive amounts of content online. For markers, that’s kind of exciting and daunting at the same time. If you think of Facebook’s 200 million public profiles as a data puke, the skill will be in getting insights from that massive data dump. Expect a lot more of this.

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