Finland on Facebook – according to candidates

With whom should Finland be friends on Facebook? Helsingin Sanomat asked this question of all the candidates in the parliamentary elections. I screen scraped that the 1747 answers to see what they thought. If the candidates would get to choose, Finland’s Facebook profile would look something like this:

Russia
1057 friends in common
Sweden
885 friends in common
Estonia
595 friends in common
Norway
591 friends in common
Germany
373 friends in common
USA
219 friends in common
Denmark
145 friends in common
China
119 friends in common
Cuba
71 friends in common
India
61 friends in common

So Russia is apparently our best friend. Or at least that is what we want to make them believe. Cuba ends up surprisingly high, but that is much beacuse of the Communist Party that is still keeping it real.

You’ll find the data on Google Docs if you want to examine it yourself.


Project One: Visualizing Friendship

I looked around for tools for visualizing social networks yesterday and found two great things:

  • An application called Gephi.
  • A tutorial explaingin how to get started with Gephi.

In the tutorial Tony Hirst shows how easy it can be to visualize Facebook friendship. With a small Facebook app called netvizz you can easily download information about who knows who in your social network. You’ll get the data in a neat .gdf file that can turn in to a nice graph in a couple of seconds.

With a little bit of color my Facebook network vizualized like this (click to open full scale pdf):

The public interest in this visualization might not be enormous. However, it does say quite a bit about my life and different stages of it:

  • The big yellow bulb represents my Helsinki network, mostly friends from university.
  • The blue network are friends from my hometown, old school friends that is.
  • On the right, between the yellow and the blue network you see friends from my student nation, Vasa nation. That is friends that study in Helsinki (yellow connections), but also know people from around my home town (blue connections).
  • The green ones are people I know from sports (close to blue as that was something I did when I was younger).
  • The red network is for people I know from Åland.
  • The purple network for my Erasmus pals.

Considering that I didn’t know anything about network visualization 24 hours ago I am quite pleased with this result.