The Connected States of America
Are our borders really the edges of our communities? The “internet guy” in me says “of course not” but that doesn’t really take into account how much of our day-to-day interaction takes place in geographical meatspace. But on the other hand, many of America’s state borders are very arbitrary delineations of latitude or since-bridged rivers, so how meaningful are they in 2013, really?
What would our borders and communities look like if we looked at other data, like phone calls? At Krulwich Wonders…, Robert Krulwich has taken a look at a couple of alternate “neighborhoods”.
The photo above was assembled from anonymous mobile phone data by MIT’s Xiaoji Chen, and it which regions call each other the most often. Anyone who’s been to my neck of the woods in Austin knows that Texans don’t call people in Oklahoma much (or College Station, for that matter), and the NorCal/SoCal split shows that the differences there go beyond suntans and dotcoms. And people in the Plains apparently just want to call anyone they can that doesn’t live in the Plains.
“What’s it like out there? Just grass here.”
Check out the rest of Robert’s post for more phone fun, plus a little look at how (not) far our money travels (and what that says about us).