September 19, 2018

"How Connected Is Your Community to Everywhere Else in America?"

The NYT has an interactive map that lets you click on counties in the U.S. and see what other counties are connect to it through Facebook friending.
Even in Washington, D.C., nearly half of friendship links extend to people who live within 100 miles. Nationwide, in the average county, 63 percent of friendship links are that close, probably reflecting that many people on Facebook know one another through real-world sites like grade schools, colleges and offices....

If we were to divide the United States into two regions, merging counties that are most closely connected to one another, we would get a very simple map. It would not show the coasts versus the heartland, or red America versus blue America.

It would show, simply, all of the continental U.S. and Alaska in one region, and far-off Hawaii in the other. Divide the country further, and cohesive regions become clear at different scales. Northern Florida merges with southern Georgia. Texas and California splinter. Divide the country into 50 regions, and you get something that looks like how we might redraw our state borders to reflect the social worlds people in America inhabit today....
Go to the link to see that vividly depicted.

43 comments:

Chuck said...

First thing I noticed was how the map doesn't show up if you are not already connected to the NYT via a subscription.

Nonapod said...

Facebook is itself a non-representative subset of America.

MayBee said...

I love the idea that "Even Washington DC" is pretty insulated. As if we didn't already know that.

Nonapod said...

As if we didn't already know that.

I'm sure NYT journo's probably don't imagine that they're insulated at all. I'm certain they believe that they're very aware of the world around them.

MadisonMan said...

University Counties really show up nicely.

mccullough said...

Show the map of where combat soldiers come from.

Then show the map of where New York Times subscribers live.

n.n said...

Facebook is a nominally public Water Closet (i.e. information clearinghouse) on the information super highway.

"Even Washington DC" is pretty insulated.

DC has private Water Closets.

NYT is a virtual Water Closet with an immense nexus.

Michael K said...

I live in Arizona and, except for the Pima County Republicans who seem to be a nest of never McSallys, I have no facebook friend within 100 miles, or 500 miles.

Michael K said...

Bertrand de Jouvenel commented that deputies in the French parliament were closer to each other, even of other parties, that they ever were to their constituents.

Nothing new under the sun.

alan markus said...

Speaking of maps, this company has taken every location in the world and tagged it with a unique 3-word combination. My current address starts with "plump", a prior address has "radioactive" in it, and my childhood home ends with "reassuring"

what3words

rehajm said...

NYC and Long Island have almost zero connections outside the metro New York area.

Weird are the far away counties with strong connections. Suffolk, MA and Jackson, WY? Rich tax refugees in Jackson Hole keeping tabs on the grandkids, no doubt. What's up with the strong bond with Crockett County, TX and Carbon County, WY? Cattle?

Achilles said...

The east coast doesn't get out much.

California is even worse.

Go over Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and you notice a significant widening.

Achilles said...

What the hell is going on in Teton County Wyoming?

Everyone seems to have friends in Teton County Wyoming.

traditionalguy said...

Shows that the USA is several regions that see themselves as self contained and ignore the others. That is certainly true of the West Coast and also of New England. But the Lone Star State seemed to be the most balanced of them all.

traditionalguy said...

Shows that the USA is several regions that see themselves as self contained and ignore the others. That is certainly true of the West Coast and also of New England. But the Lone Star State seemed to be the most balanced of them all.

mikee said...

Texas has connections. I guess it is because people keep coming here from elsewhere.

traditionalguy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
traditionalguy said...

But where are The Seven Dwarves on the map? They are the seven separate million square feet tech centers built for operations and storage by NSA/CIA of Data Collections of every comunication on the earth for 10+ years. Which is how Obama "wiretapped " every one by having their already collected data, but done ILLEGALLY unless the FISA Court gave him a pretend approval.

Mark Nielsen said...


Fascinating! Hover over the counties around the DC beltway or around LA and watch Sun Valley ID and Jackson Hole WY light up.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

Sorry Wisconsin, Michigan gets to keep its upper peninsula.

Henry said...

Very cool.

I find it interesting that very rural counties will often highlight random counties in far away states. My guess is that certain networks in sparsely-populated counties may have a high sway for those counties.

The 100-part map, in which Rhode Island is absorbed into Massachusetts and has a hard border with Connecticut is exactly what I would have predicted.

John Lynch said...

Try Loving County, Texas.

Population 134.

:)

rehajm said...

Everyone seems to have friends in Teton County Wyoming

Wealthy multiple home, generational families with other home base in NY, Boston, and DC metro, Naples, FL, They're checking on the family webpages...and the ski reports.

Also Vermont- these are your worker bees: ski patrol, hunting and fishing guides.

Jim at said...

Interesting there are several inter-connected counties in the Puget Sound region - and one, main connection to Eastern Washington ... Whitman County.

And then it occurred to me: Washington State University.

Phil 3:14 said...

Well, as they say here:

"No one is ACTUALLY from Phoenix"

Achilles said...

I am just going to point out that this information and this map should be truly terrifying to people.

Facebook has much more detailed maps. The information is very granular.


You should all truly delete your accounts.

Now.

Freeman Hunt said...

Washington County, Arkansas is pretty well-connected.

Ann Althouse said...

Maybe it includes liking Facebook pages and it’s just that people are connecting to Yellowstone Natl Park.

Michael K said...


Well, as they say here:

"No one is ACTUALLY from Phoenix"


Everybody I know in Phoenix wishes they lived in Tucson. They are there to work.

Rick Turley said...

Not sure whether I'm impressed or depressed but both Davidson and Williamson Counties in TN really light up the map.

rehajm said...

Maybe it includes liking Facebook pages and it’s just that people are connecting to Yellowstone Natl Park.

Maybe. When you hover on Teton County you get connections to nearly everywhere on the map in a variety of colors, mostly green. That would be consistent with people checking out Buffalo and geyser pics. Suffolk County, MA (Boston), Manhattan, Monroe County Florida (Naples) have strong connections- blue. Deep blue, as if the two places are neighboring counties. Maybe there's more of those people going to Yellowstone, but other population centers like LA and Chicago don't have as connections as strong. ...and If it is tourists, why don't we see strong connections like that to Disney World (Osceola County) and other places, for example?

PM said...

Zuckermandering

BJM said...

Where I live people still value face2face interactions and Quelle Horreurs! Landline phones.

rehajm said...

Similarly, areas with ski resorts in the Rocky Mountains and New England have high social connected- ness.

-from the paper

William Chadwick said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jim Harvey said...

notice how the whole map lights up when you hover over a military county: Comanche County OK,
Jefferson NY, Montgomery TN

RK said...

NYC looks to be one of the least geographically-connected places in the US.

Lewis Wetzel said...

This is more evidence that world isn't really growing smaller, isn't it? People still share sympathies with people physically close to them, not intellectually close to them.
I can't remember where, but I have read that Mussolini gave up on international socialism, and embraced or created national socialism for this reason. In one of Chesterton's better essays, written during World War One, he lamented the fact that German workers felt more brotherhood with other Germans, regardless of social class, than they felt with other workers in other nations.

Begonia said...

@MadisonMan, I noticed that too. If you hover on Dane County (Madison), all those other university counties around the country pop out in blue.

But look at Milwaukee County and see all those counties that show up in Mississippi and Arkansas. So many African American families have family that stayed in the south.

Begonia said...

Clicking on Menomonee County in Wisconsin (the entire county is basically a native american reservation) is also really interesting.

Jim Harvey said...

I find this map endless interesting.

NYC: Queens and Brooklyn seem isolated, but Manahattan does not (it is difficult to hover over Manhattan: it's very small.) Same isolation for Nassua and Suffolk (Long Island).

Those places are PHYSICALLY isolated on an island. Are there any other island counties, other than in Hawaii?

Sam L. said...

I don't do Facebook, so I don't care.

Jim Harvey said...

it's not about facebook