More than a million people have now used our Wolfram|Alpha Personal Analytics for Facebook. And as part of our latest update, in addition to collecting some anonymized statistics, we launched a Data Donor program that allows people to contribute detailed data to us for research purposes.
A few weeks ago we decided to start analyzing all this data. And I have to say that if nothing else its been a terrific example of the power of Mathematica and the Wolfram Language for doing data science. (Itll also be good fodder for the Data Science course Im starting to create.)
Wed always planned to use the data we collect to enhance our Personal Analytics system. But I couldnt resist also trying to do some basic science with it.
Ive always been interested in people and the trajectories of their lives. But Ive never been able to combine that with my interest in science. Until now. And its been quite a thrill over the past few weeks to see the results weve been able to get. Sometimes confirming impressions Ive had; sometimes showing things I never would have guessed. And all along reminding me of phenomena Ive studied scientifically in A New Kind of Science.
So what does the data look like? Here are the social networks of a few Data Donorswith clusters of friends given different colors. (Anyone can find their own network using Wolfram|Alphaor the SocialMediaData function in Mathematica.)