Social network maps do a great job of giving you information you usually don’t come across which summarizes big stories into easily interpretable graphs. Having being part of Facebook for quite some time now, I think it’s been long enough for me to find and connect to the majority of those who I know or know me who are frequently using this social website. I usually don’t like the Facebook applications, but about a month or two ago I came across Touch Graph, which – quite simply – shows you a social network of the people you’re connected to and how they’re connected among each other to form a visual cluster map of your social life.
So, take a look at the following graph the software generated (click to enlarge):
Yep, that’s me in the middle (Fili). The first thing you notice is that the majority of people I know are from Israel and Taiwan with a raising cluster of Hong Kong and China. The two universities I am affiliated with, previously Hebrew University of Jerusalem and now HKUST, are conveniently there as well. The position of the people in the map also indicates their relative position to the others. Colors represent clusters according to some theme, so those in bright blue are also affiliated with HKUST, those in purple are generally Taiwan bloggers, those in red are folks I know from Tainan, light green are from my IT days in Israel, etc.
Occasionally, you see a person wondering away from his color cluster, which perhaps indicates that s/he – like myself- is “torn” between those 4 cultures of Israel, Taiwan, HK and China. For example, Wen Chuan – located left to me, is a Taiwanese who used to study in Israel, while Nitzan – on my right side – is an Israeli currently studying in Taiwan.
This graph is brilliant. I believe it generally summarizes my position as being between cultures. I’m getting closer to HK, living and studying here, with some strong ties to Israel and Taiwan and the occasional links to China. Would be interesting to take another look at that software a year from now and see how things change.