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Wolfram Alpha Gives a New Window On Facebook Data

timothy posted about 2 years ago | from the enjoys-children-and-torture dept.

Facebook 23

Nerval's Lobster writes "Wolfram Alpha has upgraded its Personal Analytics for Facebook module, giving users the ability to dissect their own social-networking data in new ways. Wolfram Alpha's creators first launched its Facebook data-mining module in August 2012. Users could leverage the platform's computational abilities to analyze and visualize their weekly distribution of Facebook posts, types of posts (photos, links, status updates), weekly app activity, frequency of particular words in posts, and more. This latest update isn't radical, but it does offer some interesting new features, including added color coding for 'interesting' friend properties, including relationship status, age, sex, and so on; users can also slice their network data by metrics such as location and age." Wolfram users could also use some of that new site-specific searching power to come up with some unsavory results.

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"Could also use"... (5, Insightful)

Sockatume (732728) | about 2 years ago | (#42680237)

I think that timothy is confusing Wolfram with the new Graph Search. As far as I know the amazing granularity of the latter is not yet available in the former.

Data (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42680263)

It is now official - Netcraft has confirmed: Slashdot is dying

Yet another crippling bombshell hit the beleaguered Slashdot community when recently IDC confirmed that Slashdot accounts for less than a fraction of 1 percent of all forums. Coming on the heels of the latest Netcraft survey which plainly states that Slashdot has lost more market share, this news serves to reinforce what we've known all along. Slashdot is collapsing in complete disarray, as fittingly exemplified by failing dead last in the recent Forum Admin comprehensive networking test.

You don't need to be a Foreskin to predict Slashdot's future. The hand writing is on the wall: Slashdot faces a bleak future. In fact there won't be any future at all for Slashdot because Slashdot is dying. Things are looking very bad for Slashdot. As many of us are already aware, Slashdot continues to lose market share. Red ink flows like a river of blood. Slashdot is the most endangered of them all, having lost 93% of its core developers.

Let's keep to the facts and look at the numbers.

Slashdot leader Rob Malda states that there are 7000 users of Slashdot. How many users of Reddit are there? Let's see. The number of Slashdot versus Reddit posts on Usenet is roughly in ratio of 5 to 1. Therefore there are about 7000/5 = 1400 Reddit users. Kuro5hin posts on Usenet are about half of the volume of Reddit posts. Therefore there are about 700 users of Kuro5hin. A recent article put Slashdot at about 80 percent of the forum market. Therefore there are over 9000 Slashdot users. This is consistent with the number of Slashdot Usenet posts.

Due to the troubles of LinuxVA, abysmal sales and so on, Slashdot went out of business and was taken over by Dice Holdings, Inc. who sell another troubled forum. Now it is also dead, its corpse turned over to yet another charnel house.

All major surveys show that Slashdot has steadily declined in market share. Slashdot is very sick and its long term survival prospects are very dim. If Slashdot is to survive at all it will be among forum hobbyist dabblers. Slashdot continues to decay. Nothing short of a miracle could save it at this point in time. For all practical purposes, Slashdot is dead.

Fact: Slashdot is dead


Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42680323)

Eat shit and die losers !!


Divided (1)

englishstudent (1638477) | about 2 years ago | (#42680781)

I have two accounts. It would be interesting to see the differences between them.

Re:Divided (1)

nospam007 (722110) | about 2 years ago | (#42681447)

"I have two accounts. It would be interesting to see the differences between them."

It's in TFA! The difference is on one you are a student, on the other you are a whore.

YoU fsail it (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42680875)

Just drop I think (1)

Bucc5062 (856482) | about 2 years ago | (#42680929)

Talk about narcissism. I cannot fathom why I would take precious time analyzing my own data just to discover I posted 101 times, three with pictures, only 10 with comments (nobody likes me). We have gone beyond the me generation to now the I generation. Only I matter, everyone bow to your god I Am. Just finished reading a great short story in Analog (The Snack) that reflected the result of this attitude permeating our lives. No thanks, I'll take Ignorance is Bliss for 2000 Alex.

Re:Just drop I think (4, Interesting)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | about 2 years ago | (#42681049)

Don't put yourself down, I only have about 50-60 people friended on Facebook, and while the analysis resulted in a lot of boring charts (99.9% of my comments were to 3 people), I was suprised at some of the information that was useful. I love seeing how seemingly noisy data can be arranged in a manner which reveals useful information.

One particular useful aspect was being able to visualize how my connections were connected to each other. I discovered a rather strange 'link' between two people that I could discover no reason why they were linked.

One was a lead engineer for a major defense program, and the other was a high-school friend of mine. Both lived nearly 600 miles from each other, and were separated by nearly 40 years of age. My HS friend was extremely blue collar and eschewed school, my chief engineer friend? You get the idea. These two people had nothing in common.

Except for one thing, a mutual friend between them. Turns out that both of them had befriended a third person who happened to work first at the one friend's location, and then 10 years later, at the second friends location.

The connection? The linking person was a pilot on Air Force one. The engineer worked on Air Force One in the 90s, and my HS friend was an Airman at Andrews AFB in the 2000s.

I called them up and arranged a gathering between old friends who never knew that they had a lot in common.

Re:Just drop I think (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42681501)

Except... They DON'T have a lot in common. They both know someone, and both are involved in airplanes. I guess that gives them something to talk about, but "old friends"? No dude, you're diminishing what that phrase means. But I've met plenty of people that I share one common intrest with that I wouldn't touch with a 10' pole. I've also met people who are practically carbon copies of me, and while most of them are totally awesome, some of them drive me up a wall. In short, you are not defined by your interests, and your friendliness towards others should not depend on their interests.

So how'd it go?

Re:Just drop I think (1)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | about 2 years ago | (#42682849)

I tend to get a bit long-winded in my posts, but I think listing out the biographical information of everyone mentioned in order to ensure that a tangential point that I wasn't even making is backed up by verifiable fact is a bit overkill.

In fact, I probably mentioned too much in my first post, so here is a condensed version to focus on the point:

The analysis allowed this conversation to occur:

Me: "Hey, did you guys know Bill?"
Friend A: "Bill Smith? Yeah he and I still chat from time to time."
Friend B: "Oh yeah, he and I were good friends. I never realized you guys knew him too."
Me: "Hey, let's get together with Bill the next time we are all in the area!"

A,B,Bill: "Sounds like a plan."

Re:Just drop I think (1)

Antipater (2053064) | about 2 years ago | (#42681285)

You've never wanted a tool to help you with self-reflection or self-analysis? People always wonder "what do other people think about me?" This is a tool to show you the side of yourself that other people see. Maybe you're ignoring someone without even realizing it. Maybe you're giving a creepy amount of attention to someone you shouldn't be. What are you doing well? What are you doing badly? It's nice to have these things presented as objective statistics, rather than your own subjective viewpoint.

I'll probably get flak for using a sports analogy on a geek site, but coaches watch game film of their own team just as much as they do of the opposing team. When you know your own habits, your own strengths and liabilities, it's a lot harder to be blindsided by something you didn't expect.

Re:Just drop I think (1)

Bucc5062 (856482) | about 2 years ago | (#42681561)

No, not really, not for a social media site that just came into being a few years ago. You accentuate the point I was making about narcissism and narcissistic behavior. If I am being "creepy" how will I know unless someone outside my own head tells me. What am I doing well? Well I would think positive feedback would reflect that better then some chart. One person will look in the mirror and say "how wonderful am I" while another will look and remark "I must be a horrible person". Both are right, both are wrong.

The analogy falls short for the coach is outside the team, watching. If you had said the coach watched films of himself interacting with his own players I'd see more connection. Until there is outside corroboration, I cannot be objective about any aspect of my behavior other then a general sense of being true to who I am.

Another poster did make a valid point that looking at links could bring about information not normally known from daily use. By the same token had this article not been presented I doubt he would have made the same effort and those two people would still not know each other (or would care).

Re:Just drop I think (1)

Antipater (2053064) | about 2 years ago | (#42683319)

The coach is most certainly involved with the play-calling, which is a large chunk of what he's watching film for in the first place. But, if you like, I'll change the analogy to the players instead - players watch film of themselves all the time to see where, how, and why they screwed up.

Your point is that people can never be objective about themselves. I disagree. I believe that when confronted with objective evidence (statistics like what Wolfram's peddling), many people can indeed take an honest look at themselves. Sure, there are narcissists who will just see it as validation of their own greatness and chronic depressives who will see it as evidence of their own worthlessness, but I don't think the entire population is split between narcissists and depressed people. Rational people might not run the world, but they make up most of it. Catering to them is almost never a bad move.

Re:Just drop I think (4, Interesting)

Kwyj1b0 (2757125) | about 2 years ago | (#42681565)

Talk about narcissism. I cannot fathom why I would take precious time analyzing my own data just to discover I posted 101 times, three with pictures, only 10 with comments (nobody likes me). We have gone beyond the me generation to now the I generation.

You are doing it wrong. It isn't to analyze what your profile says, but what your profile implies.

For example, I gave a fake date of birth, dummy email, no location, no interests etc. I don't use FB as a connectivity tool as much as a communication tool (yes, I know that with IMs, phones, emails, it isn't necessary. But social networks make group sharing easier). And while I was looking over the analysis, I was interested to see that it doesn't really matter. You could get a pretty accurate age, location, interest, relationship status, etc. just by looking at all my friends' data.

Why is that useful? It might not be. But I'd be surprised if someone at FB isn't doing something to flag the fake/misleading profiles and set the information straight in their internal database. All you need is the majority to be privacy lax. I could be the most misleading person on the planet (as opposed to a privacy nazi, who would never have a FB account), and it wouldn't do me any good.

So Wolfram can show you what it is you are revealing on FB without actually posting anything. Which should be of interest to people, especially here on Slashdot.

Re:Just drop I think (1)

davecrusoe (861547) | about 2 years ago | (#42682993)

Wish I had mod. Great point about the power of the network data to indicate whether/how someone might be faking their own profile data--thanks for sharing.

Re:Just drop I think (1)

firewrought (36952) | about 2 years ago | (#42685063)

Talk about narcissism.... We have gone beyond the me generation to now the I generation.

Whoa there buddy... people like to check themselves out in the mirror, even if it's a sort of abstract statistical mirror. Think you're any better? Just watch whose face you immediately look at the next time you see a family photograph... 10-to-1 you look for yourself first.

Also, if you're going to go off moralizing about changing societal attitudes, you can find better examples than a statistical demo developed by a first-rate narcissist [] of the baby boomer generation.

Link to slashBi (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42681171)

Is this a new technique to get someone to post a comment on SlashBi?

Here is the link the editor meant to use (3, Informative)

cwebster (100824) | about 2 years ago | (#42681505)

Why do they link to a cnet article about a blog rather than the blog itself? Here's the proper link []

iOS FaceInfo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42681603)

The iOS Application faceinfo has been doing some of this for some time.
I've used it in the past and was able to pull some interesting info about my friends that I didn't otherwise know until it was aggregated.

Dear Wolfram alpha: (1)

mumblestheclown (569987) | about 2 years ago | (#42681685)

what is the maximum number of possible states for the price of a shave and a haircut?

Only Stephan Wolfram would be self absorbed enough (1)

Paracelcus (151056) | about 2 years ago | (#42682353)

Only Stephan Wolfram would be self absorbed enough to give himself a science fiction name (like a Cyborg) and be so full of himself as to write a treatise on the "Chi" of navel gazing via Facebook!

The man is an insufferable, effete pseudo-intellectual snotnose with delusions of godhood.

Re:Only Stephan Wolfram would be self absorbed eno (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42683277)

His fans worship him. Or at least that's what he told me.

But gotta love Slashvertisements.

How is Graph Search New? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42687879)

I seem to remember back when Facebook started, you were able to search for you friends that had similar data points in their profile just like this. How is this new? I think they basically had to remove the tool a long time ago because the data got too big for it to work. Now they've figured out how to manage it again, so they've put the feature back in facebook and they're calling it new.

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