418 lines of code. 313 Million Users. The First and Most Successful Social Network

I've been thinking about the power of social networks. About how Twitter has become a tool to fight tyranny. About how Facebook has linked people all around the world. And of course, I love American history.

And then it hit me. The Constitution defines a social network! Hmmm. How many lines of code is it? I figured six thousand. It was 418 lines when it was released. (with Bill of Rights) And that's when using a 13 point font!

Now, 225 years later, with 27 ammendments, its up to a whopping six hundred and eleven lines of "code." This code defines the underlying structure of our country - our social network, that has 313,728,401 users as of June 12, 2012. 

Now that's tight coding.

The Declaration of Independence was the original statement of intent. The first press release for the first social network. It was 113 lines long. It took 11 years from that declaration, and one war of independence, to deliver Release 1.0 in 1787. We put Release 1.0.27 into production in 1992 when the 27th amendment was ratified. And that brings us to the full 611 lines of code that we're running today.

PDF of the Constitution of the United States with Bill of Rights:

Constitution of the United States with Bill of Rights is 418 lines long.

The Constitution with Amendments is 611 lines.

PDF of the Constitution with Ammendments:

The Declaration of Independence - 113 lines

PDF of the Declaration of Independence:

20 responses
Buggy pseudo-code. Subject to grotesque misinterpretation.
Ah, true. But the key is that it has run for 225 years, and it has been subject to successful interpretation throughout that time. What other code can say the same? Also, I believe it is the oldest, and the shortest of the current national constitutions.
Love the analogy. I would argue that the version should be 2.0.27, which was a new implementation from the Articles of Confederation. It was so buggy, we had to rewrite the implementation from scratch!
Jon - I agree...truth be told, I didn't know about the role of the Articles of Confederation before your comment. And you're right, they were adopted, and had much less federal power. But wouldn't you call that beta?
Fair enough, but very much a public beta test :)
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