Wolfram Alpha, the geniuses who brought you the sophisticated "knowledge engine" and taught Siri practically everything she knows, have bestowed upon the world a new online activity even more narcissistic than Googling yourself: running analytics on your Facebook account.
Wolfram Alpha's "Facebook report" puts personal analytics within everyone's reach and lets users actually benefit from the big data they've passed over to the social network. Plus, it's a whole lot of fun.
The things I learned from my "Facebook report," which I generated by entering "Facebook report" into the Wolfram Alpha site and giving it access to my Facebook profile, include:
- How many of my friends are single, engaged, hitched, in a relationship or "other"
- Which of my friends actually care enough to "like" or comment on my posts (Jason, Craig, you two are the best. Quite literally.)
- The friends of mine with whom I share the most mutual friends (a list dominated by my closest friends and college acquaintances most likely to become politicians )
- The frequency with which certain words appeared in my Facebook posts (I apparently use "Facebook," "new" and "know" quite a bit)
- The post of mine that received the most "likes" and the most comments
- The average length of my posts (perhaps I've been trained by Twitter to think in short bursts: my average Facebook post as 103 characters.)
- The percent of male vs. female friends I have
- How frequently I shared different types of information with Facebook over the past two years (photos vs. status updates vs. links) and how it varies over the average week
And much, much more. As Stephen Wolfram, who helped pioneer Wolfram Alpha's "knowledge engine," notes, "When you type 'facebook report', Wolfram Alpha generates a pretty seriously long report -- almost 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." (Wolfram's blog post introducing the feature includes a subtle dig at the social network: "I have to admit that I’m not a very diligent user of Facebook (mostly because I have too many other things to do). But I’ve got lots of Facebook friends (most of whom, sadly, I don’t know in real life)."
Try the tool for yourself here.