15 November 2008


Likely this will fascinate nobody but me. But it fascinates me.

I probably have too many Facebook friends. I've made it a practice to accept friend requests from anybody who "friended" me, unless there was no discernable non-commerce-related reason why they would do so. For the most part, folks whom I don't know who friended me have been one degree of separation away, and part of the "emerging/missional church" conversations in some way shape, or form. It's seemed, well, unfriendly to ignore those friend requests, and so I haven't.

But over time I've gotten more requests from folks who are not just friends of friends, but friends of "friends", if you know what I mean - i.e., two or more degrees of separation away, connected to me only by other folks I don't really know that well, if at all. Still, I've tried to err on the side of "friendly", and it's actually been pretty interesting - seeing, through the status updates of folks I don't really know, what's going on in the Church in a wide variety of contexts. And also seeing frequent updates from chatty folks who rave or rant about things I really just don't need to know about. (Sorry. Luckily, Facebook has ways of regulating that without necessarily un-friending people.)

Anyway, now I have lots of "friends", intersecting with the rather more significant blessing of many real-life friends, many of whom are not, alas, on Facebook. But I'm fascinated with exploring how my Facebook friends relate to each other. Who are they friends with? What do they have in common? How do clusters of friends from different "spheres" of my life intersect? Who are the "bridge" people in my life? The picture afforded by Facebook is very imperfect, what with all the "friends" on FB that I don't really know, and all the dear friends in real life who aren't on FB. And also, lots of people who know each other in real life aren't the Facebook sluts that I am, and haven't necessarily friended one another. But anyway. This fascinates me.

And aiding in my fascination is this cool tool called "Nexus". Here's the link to the interactive version. I think you can access that without being me, my friend, or even a Facebook user, but in case I'm wrong, here's a less-enlightening flat version (click to embiggen):

And here's the flat version, annotated to mark out "clusters" of my friends:

See? I told you I was going to find that a lot more fascinating that you do. But if you use Facebook, you might find it interesting to generate your own graph.


Moff said...

Sorry, Crog, I TOO find this fascinating... but I'm probably just as much of a Facebook Ho as you... if not more so. I stalk my friend's friend lists and pick off people that look interesting. I friended a girl the other day who had tagged pictures she'd drawn of Pete Rollins because I wanted to tell her she was a great artist.

I think that the organizational clusters are fascinating because of the hubs... who connects who? and what can we do to encourage more connectors (i.e. less division, less tribalism)? I totally totally dig Facebook's potential to educate people about perspectives they never thought about through 2 or 3 degrees of separation and almost no effort.

which of course makes the virus currently going around fb all the more odious to me. grrrr.

Moff said...

i mean who connects group to group... just realized that's not clear.

Monk-in-Training said...

this is the ultimate in facebook geekness. i love it

dave said...

You are not alone; I love this stuff; i am just as fascinated..

...which may explain why I am:

Your Facebook Friend,


Steve Hayes said...

I find it interesting too, but I wish these social networking sites would make a clear distinction between different classes of people -- real friends, close family, extended family, online friends, work colleagues, acquaintances etc.

I couldn't find where I fitted into your network, though!

Mike Croghan said...

@Steve - agreed, although Facebook now has "friend lists" which I haven't fully learned how to use yet.

And BTW, you're somewhere toward the outer edge of the north-by-northwest area of the "emerging-missional church cluster", connected to only two of my other FB friends (both of whom are a little more toward the center of that cluster). Just so you know your place in the universe. ;-)

[REDACTED] said...

Q: Do you know who else is fascinated by this?

A: Teh CIA!!!!1!! And possibly also The Domestic Network Classification Group at the NSA.

Mike Croghan said...

@(RED)acted (hey, you could be part of the consumers against AIDS movement!)

Gee, that's kind of cool. I think that might be the first time I've had anything in common with those people!

So we've got that going for us. Which is nice. :-)

Steve Hayes said...

I generated my own graph, but now I can't find it again!

Mike Croghan said...

You should be able to get to it from the "Applications" menu in the extreme lower-left corner in Facebook.

Rachel said...

call me geek.
yep, love it.
and the Rollins quote, really wonderful.