Personal analytics for Facebook

One of the coolest features in Wolfram|Alpha are the personal analytics for facebook.  It allows you to gain unique and personalized information on yourself and your social network by its custom generated reports. Wolfram|Alpha uses its expert-level knowledge and algorithms to accomplish this.

Based on your friend community network, friend statistics, it will show the groups of friends that make up your network, where your friends are living, how popular they are and so forth.

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This gives great insights about your network and your friends, e.g. their genders and relationship statuses.

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And to get a whole new perspective on your friends, you can click anywhere where you see a name pop up to generate a similar report for them based on what they share. Or you can just insert “facebook user: [ID]” in any Wolfram|Alpha search box.

Your daily posting activity gives an idea what you talk about on Facebook, when you are most active and what are your most popular photos.

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That’s pretty awesome isn’t it?

The good thing about these analytics is that it loads your current data from Facebook and then shows a lot of great insights. Your data is cached on the Wolfram servers for one hour, and after that the personal identifiable data is deleted, completely in line with HIPAA standards. However, as time passes you may want to know the relevant changes in your network. For this to work, your data needs to be archived. And yes, there’s an option to enable historical analytics too! As Worlfram states: “The data will be kept private and will only be used to generate reports for you”. If you still have security and privacy concerns, go and read the privacy policy. Some data might be more relevant in the short term than others, like your most popular photos. But it would be interesting to see how relationship status evolve over time and your daily posting activity for instance.

Over a million of people already used the tool, and recently, in addition to collecting some anonymized statistics, Wolfram|Alpha launched a Data Donor program that allows people to contribute detailed data to them for research purposes. This gives insights like how many friends people typically have on Facebook. It turns out this is 342. By donating your archive to Wolfram’s research collection, imagine the possibilities this gives for research on personal analytics and sociometrics.

I’m just so much impressed 🙂

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