Regular Facebook users know that we all share a lot of information on the site. But how much information? How often are we online sharing our locations, communicating our feelings and responding to friends? With a new Facebook app called Wolfram Connection, Facebook users can find out for themselves. Before you jump into this, be warned. The reports are not for the faint of heart. If you’re mildly concerned about your online privacy and how Facebook uses information, the Wolfram Connection app will keep you up tonight. If you’re just a curious person, it can give some important information about your Facebook usage and your network of friends. While it can be scary, I encourage others to complete a Wolfram Connection report. It can give you a great deal of information to help guide your social networking usage. Consider it a detailed physical of your online social health.
Here are some interesting things I learned after using the app:
1. I’m probably on Facebook way too much. The Wolfram app says I’ve posted 425 comments and updates since January 1, 2011. After looking at a report of the times I’ve posted, I find an even distribution of times and days during the week. There are clearly those sleepless nights when I’m posting stuff at 3 AM and other nights where I’m commenting at 10 PM. Not surprisingly, Tuesdays (the days I share new posts from the 8 Blog) are my most active days.
2. My Facebook world is not really that diverse. While I have a few friends in other countries, most of my Facebook connections are limited to 17 states. The vast majority (78%) live in the same state that I do. This is pretty logical since I’ve spent my entire adult life going to school and working in the same state. While I’ve traveled elsewhere, few connections are apparent on Facebook from these interactions.
3. My social worlds rarely collide on Facebook. Looking at a breakdown of my friend connections (at the right), my different social worlds are clear. I have a social group from college, from graduate school, from my workplace, and from my family. The nest of connections rarely overlap. I don’t know if this is common for others but few of my Facebook friends connect to more than one grouping. I can also see a few outliers who are not friends with anyone else in my social network except for me.
4. Not all of my friends are sharing their information or reporting it accurately. In one of my reports, it showed that a friend was 92 years old. He is not. It also showed half of my friends consider themselves Conservatives and the other half consider themselves Libertarians. Of course, only 2 people out of my entire friend network chose to share their political views. While the report shows that 81% of my friends are “married,” only about half of my friends report their relationship status at all. It’s good to know that people are willing to keep some of their information private. Possibly with a detailed analysis from Wolfram Connection, Facebook users can better understand their social connections and make informed changes about how they participate and what information they choose to share.