Today's story from the Hive is meant to be "cool", an "intern's" visualization of the connections between friends meant to create another view of the world: One without geographic limitations such as territorial boundaries.
Take it away "intern"
When the data is the social graph of 500 million people, there are a lot of lenses through which you can view it. One that piqued my curiosity was the locality of friendship. 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.
I began by taking a sample of about ten million pairs of friends from Apache Hive, our data warehouse. I combined that data with each user's current city and summed the number of friends between each pair of cities. Then I merged the data with the longitude and latitude of each city.
Okay, Einstein, sum it up for those in the Facebook Sphere of Influence...
After a few minutes of rendering, the new plot appeared, and I was a bit taken aback by what I saw. The blob had turned into a surprisingly detailed map of the world. Not only were continents visible, certain international borders were apparent as well.
Well, what does this look like?
It is surprisingly cool, though.
Click to John Holmes this bitch (big file...3.8 mbs), or, go to the source page
But, what corporate endeavour to track and plot 1/2 a billion souls is complete without a lil' PR language allegedly spoken by the "intern".
What really struck me, though, was knowing that the lines didn't represent coasts or rivers or political borders, but real human relationships. Each line might represent a friendship made while travelling, a family member abroad, or an old college friend pulled away by the various forces of life.
This is meant to put our mind at ease, but, we really know what these lines represent; and it isn't "a relationship." Rather, it's more than likely dick jokes and pictures of drunks behaving badly.
Like yours truly, in the foreground, wrecking folks in the pit.
Ah, to be young and indestructible again.