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The United States of Facebook – How People Cluster Online

People in Seattle stick to themselves…

Pete Warden has collected data on 210 million public Facebook profiles and has discovered some patterns that have emerged regarding how Facebook users connect geographically and the results are quite interesting:
facebook use in america

How the clusters break down:

It is important to understand how these clusters form and why so that your online efforts are streamlined and you don’t waste time. If you’re in Ohio, investing time into getting in with the Seattle bunch may not quite pay off.

Stayathomia (which is a great name, by the way) is defined by these users’ connections being mostly in the immediate or neighboring cities and sports fan pages rank more highly than religiously based fan pages.

Dixie is clumped together as the “Old South” according to Warren, defined by Atlanta as the hub with God as the most commonly fanned pages. Bonus trivia that Warren notes is that “for some reason Ashley shows up as a popular name here, but almost nowhere else in the country.”

Greater Texas centers around Dallas predominantly unlike the previously mentioned clusters and local sports (Cowboys, Longhorns) are fanned alongside God, but not far apart. This area links widely to others within the entire cluster rather than just neighbors.

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Mormonia centers around (duh) religion with Utah cities and an Idaho area linked together due to “how interwoven the communities are, and how relatively unlikely they are to have friends outside the region.” LDS-related pages are most frequently fanned in this cluster (and Glenn Beck).

Nomadic West is defined by how even small towns are connected to distant cities, and Warren notes that “it looks like the inhabitants have done a lot of moving around the county.” Interestingly, Starbucks is “amost always” the #1 fan page in this cluster.

Socalistan centers around LA as the hub in a tight cluster just like “Greater Texas” and fan pages typically don’t include God or sports but celebrities like Michael Jackson and Barack Obama.

Pacifica is defined mostly by living in Seattle- it looks like Seattleites are clique-ish in nature although Warren attributes this cluster as lacking travel (which I don’t know that I agree with).

What do you think of how this breaks down- is it consistent with your experience? Is it what you expected or perhaps it’s news that helps you in your social networking pursuits?

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Lani is the COO and News Director at The American Genius, has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH, Austin Digital Jobs, Remote Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.



  1. Jeremy Isaac

    February 11, 2010 at 1:14 am

    interesting… I’d say it corresponds with personal observations (recently lived in KS, TX and now Colorado Springs.)

  2. ChrystalSafari

    February 11, 2010 at 3:36 pm

    and the further breakdown is that FB like preschool (or at least junior high…). There’s show and tell (pics), parallel play (talking at/about you and not necessarily to you), group time (Mafia, Sorority, FarmVille games), story time (status reports), outdoor play (youtube, pics), and cliques (the same people are friending each other virtually who friended each other in school). It was interesting to find that many of us fellow classmates are the same as when the bell last rang, even after all these years.

  3. Joe Loomer

    February 12, 2010 at 6:49 am

    I agree on the names “Stayathomia” and “Socalistan” – names I shall promptly steal and use today – probably as soon as I load up my Facebook page! I strangely thought all the “stan-ism” in California was centered around “Pelocoburg,” further north.

    I would have thought Dixie was a little too obvious. but what the hey. I think my daughter and son, both high schoolers, must have about eight friends each named Ashley or Ashlyn.

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

  4. Nobu Hata

    February 12, 2010 at 4:32 pm

    I can vouch for the Stayathomia trend here in Minneapolis. If it had mentioned that “These people don’t know how to drive…” and are “Prone to passive-aggressiveness…” it would’ve been nailed ’em even more-so. 🙂 Are we really this predictable/quantifiable? Guess so.

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