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Facebook Social Networks

Wolfram Alpha Gives a New Window On Facebook Data 23

Posted by timothy
from the enjoys-children-and-torture dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "Wolfram Alpha has upgraded its Personal Analytics for Facebook module, giving users the ability to dissect their own social-networking data in new ways. Wolfram Alpha's creators first launched its Facebook data-mining module in August 2012. Users could leverage the platform's computational abilities to analyze and visualize their weekly distribution of Facebook posts, types of posts (photos, links, status updates), weekly app activity, frequency of particular words in posts, and more. This latest update isn't radical, but it does offer some interesting new features, including added color coding for 'interesting' friend properties, including relationship status, age, sex, and so on; users can also slice their network data by metrics such as location and age." Wolfram users could also use some of that new site-specific searching power to come up with some unsavory results.
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Wolfram Alpha Gives a New Window On Facebook Data

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  • Re:Just drop I think (Score:5, Interesting)

    by IndustrialComplex (975015) on Thursday January 24, 2013 @12:58PM (#42681049)

    Don't put yourself down, I only have about 50-60 people friended on Facebook, and while the analysis resulted in a lot of boring charts (99.9% of my comments were to 3 people), I was suprised at some of the information that was useful. I love seeing how seemingly noisy data can be arranged in a manner which reveals useful information.

    One particular useful aspect was being able to visualize how my connections were connected to each other. I discovered a rather strange 'link' between two people that I could discover no reason why they were linked.

    One was a lead engineer for a major defense program, and the other was a high-school friend of mine. Both lived nearly 600 miles from each other, and were separated by nearly 40 years of age. My HS friend was extremely blue collar and eschewed school, my chief engineer friend? You get the idea. These two people had nothing in common.

    Except for one thing, a mutual friend between them. Turns out that both of them had befriended a third person who happened to work first at the one friend's location, and then 10 years later, at the second friends location.

    The connection? The linking person was a pilot on Air Force one. The engineer worked on Air Force One in the 90s, and my HS friend was an Airman at Andrews AFB in the 2000s.

    I called them up and arranged a gathering between old friends who never knew that they had a lot in common.

  • Re:Just drop I think (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Kwyj1b0 (2757125) on Thursday January 24, 2013 @01:49PM (#42681565)

    Talk about narcissism. I cannot fathom why I would take precious time analyzing my own data just to discover I posted 101 times, three with pictures, only 10 with comments (nobody likes me). We have gone beyond the me generation to now the I generation.

    You are doing it wrong. It isn't to analyze what your profile says, but what your profile implies.

    For example, I gave a fake date of birth, dummy email, no location, no interests etc. I don't use FB as a connectivity tool as much as a communication tool (yes, I know that with IMs, phones, emails, it isn't necessary. But social networks make group sharing easier). And while I was looking over the analysis, I was interested to see that it doesn't really matter. You could get a pretty accurate age, location, interest, relationship status, etc. just by looking at all my friends' data.

    Why is that useful? It might not be. But I'd be surprised if someone at FB isn't doing something to flag the fake/misleading profiles and set the information straight in their internal database. All you need is the majority to be privacy lax. I could be the most misleading person on the planet (as opposed to a privacy nazi, who would never have a FB account), and it wouldn't do me any good.

    So Wolfram can show you what it is you are revealing on FB without actually posting anything. Which should be of interest to people, especially here on Slashdot.

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