What’s the relationship between the BBC and Amazon? What about Edudemic and Baidu? Scratching your head yet? The answers can be found in an incredible interactive new tool called The Internet Map.
The Internet Map displays 350,000 websites based on their popularity and relativity. For example, there’s a whole universe built around mega-sites like Twitter, Craigslist, and Facebook. You can zoom in then pan around to check out each of these smaller sites built around the larger one.
I’ve honestly never seen something so simple explain something so complicated. This visualization by Ruslan Enikeev is worth sharing and using in the classroom. After all, students are connected to their smart devices and visiting websites every minute of the day. Why not show them the hidden universe they’ve been navigating all these years?
Wondering how the map works? It’s too big to embed here so be sure to check it out at this link. Enikeev explains in a bit more detail how the map was designed and how you’re supposed to interpret it:
Like any other map, The Internet map is a scheme displaying objects’ relative position; but unlike real maps (e.g. the map of the Earth) or virtual maps (e.g. the map of Mordor), the objects shown on it are not aligned on a surface. Mathematically speaking, The Internet map is a bi-dimensional presentation of links between websites on the Internet. Every site is a circle on the map, and its size is determined by website traffic, the larger the amount of traffic, the bigger the circle. Users’ switching between websites forms links, and the stronger the link, the closer the websites tend to arrange themselves to each other.
To draw an analogy from classical physics, one may say that websites are electrically charged bodies, while links between them are springs. Springs pull similar websites together, and the charge does not let the bodies adjoin and pushes websites apart if there is no link between them. Originally, all such electrified bodies (websites) are randomly scattered on the surface of the map. Springs are stretched, repulsion energy is high – the system is far from being at equilibrium. Then the websites start moving under the influence of the forces exerted and in a while come to a halt – forces of attraction now become equal to forces of repulsion, the system has reached its equilibrium. It is exactly that state that is shown on The Internet map.
The following image is just a small sample of the massive universe. It’s a screenshot of the relative size of Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social media-centric sites.