Today we’re excited to announce the first upgrade to Wolfram|Alpha’s Personal Analytics for Facebook. There’s much more to analyze, see, and do—here’s a quick look!
One of the most shared pods from our first release was our colorful social network visualization. We’re extending this idea to help you better understand how your social network fits together. To start with, we’re showing you a new visualization that highlights friends based on the way that they fit into your network.
Let’s take an example. Say you’re a college student. You might have a group of friends from college, and another group from your old high school. If you’ve got any college classmates who also went to your high school, we might label them on your report as social connectors, because they connect two otherwise separate groups of your friends.
In total, there are five different “network roles” we identify: social insiders and outsiders, social neighbors and gateways, and social connectors. Social insiders and outsiders are opposites: a social insider has a lot of friends in common with you (e.g. your girlfriend since freshman year); conversely, a social outsider is someone with whom you have few or no mutual friends (e.g. that girl you met horseback riding in Romania). Social gateways and neighbors are also opposites: a social gateway contact has a lot of friends that are outside your network (e.g. the editor of your college newspaper), whereas a social neighbor has few friends outside your network (e.g. your identical twin).
Social insiders and social neighbors sometimes overlap, as do gateways and outsiders—but not always. For example, a social outsider simply may not have enough outside friends to be a social gateway.
In fact, these social roles are just one new way you can interact with your friend network. We’ve added color coding for a number of interesting properties, like relationship status, age, sex, number of likes, and so on—along with the ability to filter your network according to criteria like location and age. This unlocks a huge variety of interactive visualizations, allowing you to find patterns and ask questions like: Are all your married friends clustered in one part of your network? Are all your friends from your hometown the same age? Who is your most popular friend from university? Interactivity helps you explore further: at any point you can mouse over friend nodes to see who they are; clicking will take you to their Facebook page.
Wolfram|Alpha has tons of data about the real world. And we can now combine that data with your Facebook profile to tell you interesting things you might not otherwise know. For example, by analyzing your friends’ locations, we can now give even more detail about their geographical relationships to you (based on either hometown or current location). We can show you your most “geographically interesting’” friends, like who is closest to the North Pole or the equator, who is farthest away from you, and even who has the highest or lowest elevation.
Aesthetically, we’ve improved some existing features, such the weekly app activity pod, which lets you see the times you are most likely to access your favorite apps, and the word cloud, which shows the most common English words you use in your wall posts.
Looking to the future, we’re happy to announce another new aspect to Personal Analytics for Facebook: Facebook Historical Analytics. By enabling this feature now (click the banner at the top of your report), we’ll start periodically collecting information to be able to show you an evolution of your Facebook profile over time. Which of your friends has gotten married? Who has moved to a new city? You’ll get an email when there is enough data to show you a historical analysis.
For those of our users who wish to contribute to our scientific adventures in social network analysis, we are also allowing anyone to opt in to become a Data Donor. This will securely store your Facebook report to allow Wolfram’s researchers to find patterns across thousands of people. We’ll use the results to improve our Personal Analytics for Facebook, and we might even make some new scientific discoveries along the way!
Wolfram|Alpha is proud of its commitment to privacy, and we describe in our FAQ precisely how we protect your identity and data. Get started by running a new Wolfram|Alpha analysis of your Facebook profile today!