Your Personal Social Data, Visualized


Thanks to a previous AllAnalytics.com post, we already know that computational search engine provider Wolfram|Alpha offers insight into personal data. Extending its mission, the company now offers a Facebook app that lets you see your profile with stats and facts all graphed out.

Check it out for yourself: Simply enter "Facebook report" in the search box you see here and follow the subsequent directions. The app takes about a minute to load the data, which, it informs you, is cached for one hour. Of course, for the app to work, you give it permission to dig into your data and that of your friends.

For me, the first piece of personal data Wolfram|Alpha serves up is wrong -- through no fault of its own, though. The app has no way of verifying that what a person entered into the Facebook profile is correct. My profile doesn't display my birthday, though I must have been asked to input something when I signed up. So the data appearing in the Wolfram|Alpha visualization doesn't correspond to the month, day, or year of my actual birthday.

As others may have done the same, you do need to carry a few grains of salt to add to any data you get about your friends' ages. Wolfram|Alpha tells me, for example, that I have two friends who are older than 100, with one of them claiming the truly venerable age of 109. I have some doubts about this.

What's interesting, though, is what the app seems to consider adequately representational when presenting stats about friends. It based its breakdown of gender on 732 out of 876 friends, which makes me think that perhaps 144 of them just didn't check off the category. On the other hand, 363 friends factor into the relationship status, 262 for the hometown information, and only 224 for the age information.

The app uses a much greater sampling to offer me the breakdown of friends' first names. Based on 751 names, Rachel emerges as the most common, with 14 friends sharing that name. (Coincidentally, I have a daughter by that name, as well, but she's not on Facebook, so she does not add to the count.) The friend network graph also draws on a larger sample, identifying where 738 of my friends fit into categories of relationships, like those connected through a school, business, or friends connected through mutual friends.

Here's what my cluster looks like:

For the individual who just loves to share even the meta-data on sharing, Wolfram|Alpha offers "Clip 'n Share." This feature lets you turn specific graphs on your report into permanent, sharable pages. While I don't tend to such sharing myself, in the interest of testing the feature, I set one up for this pie chart showing the ratio of links to status updates to uploaded photos:

Along these same lines, a beta version of an app for visualizing Google+ posts came out in July. Developers of this app, called NOD3x, seem to be planning to expand the app's scope too -- the NOD3x Google+ profile update alluded to a LinkedIn dashboard that's in the works. NOD3x allows individuals to view their graphs with or without names, though they are not as easily shared with a click as the ones on Wolfram|Alpha.

If I were to venture a prediction based on all the data here, I would say that someone will offer an app that visualizes your activity and sharing on multiple social media channels side by side. That's what SumAll offers businesses: an assessment of the effectiveness of social media efforts in relation to online traffic and sales. It includes Facebook activity, but only for pages, not individuals. However, for those who market themselves through their individual pages, a personal Facebook page report is not just a matter of fun but a matter of business strategy.

Have you played with these or other apps aimed at providing you an easy way to visualize your online personal data? What'd find out? Or do these seem like a waste of time? Share on the message board below.

Ariella Brown,

Ariella Brown is a social media consultant, editor, and freelance writer who frequently writes about the application of technology to business. She holds a PhD in English from the City University of New York. Her Twitter handle is @AriellaBrown.

Algorithms' Dark Side: Embedding Bias into Code

Do algorithms and AI eliminate bias or do they encode the biases of models? New work on AI policies is designed to shine the light on the black box of model design and use.

Machine Learning Tackles Cyberbullying

Social media and mobile devices may seem like a vast and scary unknown to parents of young children with phones and other devices. Now machine learning is being applied to the problem of protecting the kids.


Re: Personal Social Data
  • 9/18/2012 8:18:10 PM
NO RATINGS

@SaneIT Exactly, so. You can't accept everything you see at face value.

Re: Personal Social Data
  • 9/17/2012 7:59:02 AM
NO RATINGS

@Ariella I've heard of some older FB users but this one in particular I know pretty well and he's no where near 100, I suspect that his account probably skewed all of the categories on the results page. I guess that's something to think about when looking at any data that comes out of FB.  You're going to have to throw some of the data away because it's clearly garbage either due to humor in the case of my friend, errors which I also saw or people hiding information which I can't say I noticed but I'm sure it happens.

Re: Influence and reach
  • 9/16/2012 9:51:08 AM
NO RATINGS

@Louis  I'm not trying to be an advocate for FB. Personally, I much prefer G+. But, as of now, there are still quite a substantial number of businesses that try to reach their markets through the biggest social network. They would be interested in this form of metric. That's what SumAll offers them -- a way to come up with the a figure for ROI on social media effort. 

Re: Influence and reach
  • 9/16/2012 2:39:37 AM
NO RATINGS

Hi Ariella,   I have not played with these types of apps and really have no intention of doing so.  I think it is well documented my stance on FB, but I don't disparage those who find it interesting.  I just don't feel the need to know this information, so in that sense it would be a waste of time for me.

 

Though I do like the potential and I wonder if enterprises will eveuntually use these kinds of apps to understand their user base better ?

Re: Influence and reach
  • 9/14/2012 12:12:34 PM
NO RATINGS

@Maryam I'm sure they already have access to something of that sort that FB offers when it sells ads that are meant to be effectively targeted (though they aren't always).

Influence and reach
  • 9/14/2012 12:04:10 PM
NO RATINGS

Ariella I actually haven't played with tools such as this, though they are very interesting. I would expect that companies would love to access the data to get information about social influencers and their reach.

Re: Personal Social Data
  • 9/14/2012 11:43:45 AM
NO RATINGS

@Noreen, well the Facebook stats would be how data miners who draw on it would see you -- for good or ill. I'm always mindful that anything there can become public, which is why my few posted pictures only show places and no people. But not all my connections are so cautious. It makes me feel like an accidental voyeur to have them post updates and photos about their relationships and then relay the breakup, and then the next relationship.

Re: Personal Social Data
  • 9/14/2012 11:18:11 AM
NO RATINGS

Oh Ariella...now I not only have to worry about posting, I have to worry about how those postings will translate in terms of my own personal social data!!

Re: Personal Social Data
  • 9/14/2012 8:52:02 AM
NO RATINGS

@SaneIT I'm glad you found it illuminating and entertaining. Now, I'm not saying it's impossible for people over 100 to be on FB, just that given the odds of it, I become quite skeptical when I see two in that category among my friends.  And while some people disguise their birthdates by making themselves younger, it is quite possible that some choose the other direction.

Personal Social Data
  • 9/14/2012 8:28:56 AM
NO RATINGS

I have to say that this is pretty cool.  I was surprised to see what my most liked photo was for example.  I was also laughing when I found that one of my friends is 102 years old, let's just say bad data makes for some funny rankings.  Lastly I was surprised to see that the person who has the most "friends" in common isn't a family member.  I would have expected it to be someone closer but it's someone I have a fringe friendship with.  Some very interesting data points there.

Page 1 / 2   >   >>
INFORMATION RESOURCES
ANALYTICS IN ACTION
CARTERTOONS
VIEW ALL +
QUICK POLL
VIEW ALL +