Saturday, October 16, 2010

You can't tell very well from the reduced-size preview, but this picture represents the connections between most of my Facebook friends.  One of the things I enjoy most about social networks is the "network" aspect.  The interconnections between people and the realizations about how close (or far) unacquainted people are from each other. 

More discussion of this image after the break.

The image is largely divided into two significant clusters, but even a casual glance can determine there's slightly more going on than can be explained in a single sentence.  The bottom circle is "Kansas City", but I'll talk about that later.  The top purple circle roughly represents "high school friends", but can be more broadly defined as "people from St. Louis".  Note that they don't all live in St. Louis at the moment, but I mainly know them from various times that I've lived in St. Louis concurrently with them.

The left off-shoot from the St. Louis cluster is mostly family: my two brothers are there, as well as three of my cousins and my brother's fiancee.  Strangely, the only reason this cluster is "attached" is because of a friend of one of my brothers who is connected to a friend inside of the upper circle: that "inside" friend knows several of the main high school group.

The binding link between the St. Louis and Kansas City circles is -- unsurprisingly -- Columbia.  Most of the people in between are connected with the time around my Master's degree.  The interstitial area is anchored at each end by two friends: one who I went to high school (in St. Louis) with who went to Mizzou and the other I met at Mizzou and then *he* moved to Kansas City.

The Kansas City circle represents a more recent group of friends, but also a more recent time period.  Facebook didn't exist until after the times I spent in St. Louis and Columbia.  The great glut of people in the center are everyone associated with the Conservatory.  There are three small sub groups, starting at approximately 9 o'clock.

The 9 o'clock matrix are the people I work with.  There are only six or seven of them, but they're all friends and largely don't know any of the Conservatory people.

The 7 o'clock group is interesting.  It's people I know mainly from my undergraduate years in DePaul.  Why is it all the way down here?  Firstly, I don't have a wide breadth of friends from those days.  I only keep in contact with a small handful.  Second, one of those DePaul friends worked in the brass instrument manufacturing business and knows my current boss.  That's what keeps that cluster close to the "work" cluster.  And while the DePaul people don't know any of my high school friends, they do have connections to assorted Kansas City people: one person used to go to school with X, one person sold a tuba to Y, etc.

The final cluster (at around 4 o'clock) is people I met during my trips to Charlotte to play with the Salvation Army brass spectaculars.  There's a few Salvationists and Scotsmen there, which makes for a fun juxtaposition.  They're all brass band guys, though, so it's safe to assume that that part of the main KC glob is mostly brass band people as well.

Somewhere in the center of the KC mob is my friend Dave.  Dave is my right-hand friend by virtue of the fact that he and I have more mutual friends than anyone else I know.  I think he knows 95 or 96 of the same people, which represents nearly half of my total frienddom.

It fascinates me that this connective chart is based solely on who knows who, but it does tend to sketch out a general geography of my life.  Sure, it would do that anyway, since friends are more likely to know other friends they live near, but it's still entrancing.

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