Wolfram|Alpha Personal Analytics for Facebook.

Posted on September 1, 2012

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It is now possible to do a personal analytics of your life [or a friends’] as documented by Stephen Wolfram, who recently released the Wolfram|Alpha Personal Analytics for Facebook. This tool allows users analyze data about themselves using their Facebook data.

To get your personal analytics report, all you have to do is type “Facebook Report” into the textbox on the standard Wolfram|Alpha website.

If you’re doing this for the first time, you’ll be prompted to authenticate the Wolfram Connection app in Facebook, and then sign in to Wolfram|Alpha for free. And as soon as you’ve done that, Wolfram|Alpha will immediately get to work generating a personal analytics report from the data it can get about you through Facebook.

In order to do this analysis your Facebook data is acquired via the connection app using the Facebook API and respects whatever privacy settings you have given to Facebook. Your data is cache on the Wolfram|Alpha servers for one hour, to allow efficiency while perfroming queries.

User data is deleted from the servers after one hour, we dont know yet if the amount of data or slow internet connection is accounted for. While on the Wolfram|Alpha server, user data is stored securely and is only accessible to the data owner or query initiator. The results of the queries are private, unless the user publishes the data using the Clip’n Share feature. Roll over an image from the report, and a “share” icon comes up. Click it, and you can create a permanent web page that you can link to from Facebook or wherever.

Wolfram|Alpha generates a long report, a small book about you, with more than a dozen major chapters, broken into more than 60 sections, with all sorts of drill-downs, alternate views, etc.

The analysis shows how your friends are connected to each other, gender distribution, relationship distribution, geographic distribution, age distribution and if it knows from Facebook when and where you were born, it can work out things like what the weather was like (down to the hour in most places—a good memory test for parents!)

One of the first major sections is about your general Facebook activity, peak in activity, kind of apps used, kind of activity with dates and time. In general we could call this an Analytics for human activity on the web – via Facebook.

You can also look at all sorts of analysis of check-ins, photos, responses to posts, and so on. You can find out which of your posts or photos are most liked, at what times, and by whom. Find out things like who you share the most friends with. Your whole network of friends can actually be shown and analyzed as a network and arranged based on mutual friendships.

The Wolfram|Alpha analytics tool is fun, but also shows us just how much information we willingly share with social networks. Now that you have read this, you might want to scale downwards the amount of information you share online or record even more and embrace all the interesting possibilities of tracking your personal data.

 

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