polarization
in social media

a graphical approach


Welcome to an interactive exploration of social media data.

This page is a platform for visualizing:

1. The growth of social media as a phenomenon;
2. A snapshot in time of an actual social network graph.

We'll start our exploration in the broadest sense possible, examining UN and World Bank data to see when different countries and regions around the world started using the Internet.

Next, we'll dive into data from the Pew Research Center to investigate social media use among adults in the United States.

Finally, we'll dig around some actual network data: a network of "likes" connecting 17 politically polarizing Facebook pages.

All of the visualizations are interactive. You can segment the data and drill down into different components to reveal patterns and trends. Note: it's best to view this page on a large screen due to the Tableau embedded visualizations.

Enjoy exploring!


The World Wide Web

First, let's take a look at how Internet use has grown.
Hover over an element to see more details, and use the Control Panel on the right to dive into a particular segment. You can select a single country or an entire region using the dropdown menus. You can also adjust the year using the 'Year' text box or the slider underneath it. Finally, you can use the check blocks to filter countries by their size.


Social Media Explosion

Next, let's explore how social media has grown in the United States since 2005.
Hover over an element to see more details, and use the Control Panel on the right to dive into a particular segment.


Nodes and Edges

Finally, let's dig into an actual network visualization.


Each circle represents a Facebook page. Each line represents a "like" between one page to another. To create the visualiation, I started out with 17 "seed" pages (listed below) and gathered all of the other Facebook pages that the seed pages liked. Finally, I connected all of the nodes and edges in one single graph.

Seed pages:

AFL-CIO | AIPAC | Alex Jones | Alt-Right | Ann Coulter | Antifa | Bernie Sanders | Charles Blow | Democratic Socialists | Elizabeth Warren | Hillary Clinton | Milo Yiannopoulos | The NRA | Planned Parenthood | Ron Paul | Tea Party | Donald Trump

Note: I did not use a rigorous methodology to select the seed pages. I've attempted to include a smattering of pages that represent issues about which many Americans are strongly opinionated.

Another version of this network with fewer seed pages is here.


Check out the slideshare for more information.