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Wolfram Alpha Facebook analytics are actually interesting

first_imgIn one of the most momentous events in the history of mathematics, Wolfram Alpha has legitimized one of the most controversial and deeply held beliefs among mathematicians: numbers can be fun.Leaving aside Number Munchers and its vastly inferior sequels, there has been little evidence to support the claim that math could lead to interesting or valuable information. Now, Wolfram has put the question to bed once and for all: math can tell you about your social media presence.The online super-calculator has introduced a new Facebook analytics feature which, given access to your account, will break you down to your basic numerical components and rearrange them to change the way you think about your life online.What’s most interesting about the report is not so much what it tells you about yourself, but about your friends. I had no idea, for instance, that my Facebook friends were 58% male, or that my male friends are almost twice as romantically single as my female ones, or that my friend-group is almost as married as it is single. Your friends are broken down across virtually every possible rubric, from age to geographical location to number of Facebook friends.If there’s one thing Wolfram knows how to do, it’s charts.The relationship web was particularly interesting, visually arranging friends according to mutual friendships. It shows what isolated little communities exist in Facebook’s status-propagating algorithms, one interlinked group for family, another for college friends, another for work buddies. Every now and then, though, a single grey line reaches out to connect otherwise separate clusters of people — I learned through this phenomenon that my second cousin in the UK speaks regularly with an old high-school buddy, purely by coincidence.Those sorts of insights are really the most legitimate part of this analysis, since it doesn’t rely on self-reporting. According to their own reporting, six people I went to college with are between the ages of 70 and 90, and seven others under 10. The previously mentioned relationship numbers are skewed, since one sex or the other is probably less likely to report their single-ness over Facebook, or more likely to report being in a relationship. These certainly aren’t scientific findings, but they are interesting in their limited way.Who are your most active friends? Who posts the most to your timeline but gets neglected by you? Who does a lot of liking but not a lot of content production? These pressing, vital questions and more and answered with the push of a button.last_img read more