On Monday, Facebook published a visualization of the connections between friends across the world. The connected points between cities and countries create a beautiful map of how far Facebook has spread, and how connected we are. The map is also remarkable for how much of the world is still dark, and thereby unconnected – at least through Facebook. During the time that I worked at Nokia, the company sold it’s one billionth phone.SImilarly, I was interested in how many people that meant did not have a mobile phone (today that number is roughly 3.2 billion). Having the Facebook visulization, I wanted to see which parts of the world where not using Facebook. Thorsten Gaetz did exactly that here by comparing the Facebook visualization to Nasa’s Population Density Map from 1994. Thorsten’s map highlights just how much of the world is still untouched by Facebook. However, in addition to where the population of the world lives, it’s interesting to also compare against areas of the world that have the potential to be connected to Facebook. To visualize those relationships, I layered two other maps, one that shows which areas in the world have access to electricity (sadly, still not everywhere), and which have regular access to the internet (even more limited). I also used the population density map.
Since you need the Internet to connect to Facebook, and you need electricity to connect to the Internet, and there’s only electricity where we live, these four maps are interesting to compare agaist each other. The use of Facebook, in a sense, represents the top of the pyramid of modernized societies.
Below, the four maps are layered on top of each other with Facebook in blue, the Internet in white, Electricity in yellow, and Population Density in red.
Check out this interactive version of the maps, which allows you to compare each individual map layer against the others (Sorry — it’s built in Flash).