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Discovery & User Experience

Wolfram Alpha Analyzes Facebook

Wolfram Alpha is different than most other search engines because it is known as an answer engine — by computing answers from the inputted data, rather than providing lists of links to outside websites. Recently, the answer engine debuted a new feature that allows one to search and analyze their Facebook profile. To access this tool you will need to visit Wolfram Alpha, and type “facebook report” in the search box. You will then need to add the app to your Facebook account.

The “Facebook report” then returns an analysis of your profile — from the number of things you’ve “liked”, the top commenters on your wall, and the most frequent words you’ve used in status updates.

I was a little surprised to see how often I used certain words, like ‘now’ and ‘summer’.

This type of information is very similar to the analytics provided to users that run a Facebook page. Similarly, you can find out demographic information about your friends, such as relationship status:

In each category there is often a “more” button that breaks down the information ever further. In the basic personal information section, the “more” button revealed the weather at my birth, the moon phase, my zodiac sign and even a sky chart!

All of this information was surprising to me because I like to think I’m careful about oversharing on social networks. From this tool alone, a company could figure out my age, demographic background, job and extracurricular activities, and some key interests. You can also search the pages of your friends, but with a more limited analysis. I was still shocked at the amount of information revealed from just their Facebook profiles.

A company or any other organization looking to understand their customers will benefit from a feature like this because only a few clicks reveal a complete breakdown of a single identity. Like I mentioned previously, Facebook already provides analytic tools for Page owners, but using this tool on a Page could help the owner understand which status updates were most successful, which users utilized the page most, and a more detailed understanding of the user demographics of those who “like” the page.

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