Analyse your Facebook data with WolframAlpha’s new tool

WolframAlpha, the answer engine that computes data and answers questions with facts and numbers, has updated its meticulous Facebook Personal Analytics tool. The update brings more information about you and your friends on the social network and includes more than just statistical insights about how many links, photos and updates you ever posted on your page last year.

One of the new features is the social network visualisation. It displays a visualisation of your entire social network and shows how your friends fit into your social network. You'll see information regarding the groups of friends you have and the connections (or lack thereof) within those groups.

WolframAlpha's Personal Analytics for Facebook

WolframAlpha's Personal Analytics for Facebook


Using this information cluster, WolframAlpha has identified five different roles for your social network. The official website states, “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).

The analytics also display geographical peculiarities in your friend circle using WolframAlpha’s minefield of data. Combining that data with your Facebook profile, the report gives you even more detail about your friends’ geographical relationships with you. WolframAlpha can show you your most 'geographically interesting' friends, like, for example, who is closest to the North Pole or the equator, who is farthest away from you and who has the highest or lowest elevation. It also shows you a heat map of your friends’ location.

Besides floating out these new features, the company has also improved some existing features. The weekly app activity pod now depicts which times of the day you most use facebook and for what purpose. It also shows you which times you prefer to access certain apps. So if you were ever worried about managing your FB time better, this tool is likely to be helpful. The tool also has a brighter, more colourful word cloud, which shows the most common English words you use in your wall posts.

WolframAlpha has also added a new Facebook Historical Analysis that displays how your Facebook profile has evolved over time in a visual manner. It displays info about your friends who got married or those who moved out of your hometown. A new filtering system breaks down your network according to certain criteria so you can learn more about your Facebook self than you ever knew.

Those users who wish to contribute to the mining of social data can opt in to become a Data Donor and help WolframAlpha improve both the Personal and Historical Analysis reports. The tool stores your FB data securely and helps Wolfram’s researchers find patterns across thousands of people in various locations. WolframAlpha hopes the info received from Data Donors will help the organisation make new scientific discoveries, besides creating a modern social graph.

At the time of publishing, however, the Personal Analytics tool is facing some problems due to hitting the Facebook API call limit. The website says they are working on resolving the issue.

Published Date: Jan 24, 2013 12:34 pm | Updated Date: Jan 24, 2013 12:34 pm