What do your friends say about you?

Today, I’m going off tech for a bit. Slightly. 🙂

Check out Facebook Social Graphs. What this nifty little tool does is map your connections in a visual graph, using a specific formula. (Basically, a spring-electrical model. Each connection is a charged particle, repelling everyone away from himself, and is connected with a spring, pulling together. This forces the connections to form clusters, with large interconnected groups bunched up together, and independent loners pushed far outwards. The individual clusters will also repel each other, moving into clear ‘continents’. See here for more details on the model)
This creates an interesting theory – that the pattern of cluster formation can be used to predict user personality and possibly career success. (via Pluggd.in)

My Social Graph

I’ll take it a step further – it can be used to predict a bit more about people.

Some scenarios.
(This is pure thought exercise, and shouldn’t be taken in any way as definitive or a point of authority. I’m also looking forward to inputs and feedback if you agree / disagree / thought of something new)

Isolated, scattered islands
Lonely. Not many friends, and the few he has, are not giving him access to their extended groups.

1 single supercontinent
All this guy’s friends know each other. Can happen if he’s from a very close-knit group. Either just created a profile (where the closest guys are added first, all his batchmates, for example) or comes from a very niche industry where people move around, know each other, and are interconnected. Family is not on his friend list. Probably single. Geographically limited.

Large cluster with few isolated islands
He’s getting out there. Meeting friends of friends. But most of his life still revolves around a single activity – either work, or college. Could be running a club, with some new people joining all the time.

2 clear groups
Probably recently married, so his significant other’s group and family is added on. Looks like an arranged marriage. Wife doesn’t know most of his friends. Natural progression would be for the two groups to gradually start merging. Schizophrenic? Work and friends networks only?

2 clear groups, each with it’s own satellites
Living 2 lives. Home and Away. This guy can have an affair and get away with it, nobody from the two spheres knows anyone from the other. Will also tend to be stressed as each group puts wildly conflicting demands on his time and attention.

Multiple groups, all separated
Social butterfly. Likes to do lots of things, meets with people from various fields. Has active social life, with several groups of friends for different activities. Will come across as a well-rounded personality.

Archipelago: Lots of isolated, scattered islands
Still meets lots of people, and is on good terms with them, but they don’t know each other and each one is a closed door, not giving access to additional groups; Sounds like sales, or consulting. He needs to get past those individual islands and start making each into a cluster. May also be a high-level person, CEO-type, who has to restrict the number of people who have access, but needs to keep the key people in; or a celebrity profile. The next step would be –

Medium cluster, lots of islands
The core group is of the people in the industry, key resources who know each other; others are all the one-point contacts who are still important but not important enough to warrant inclusion of their individual networks.

Lots of medium clusters
Clearly differentiated spheres of life. Work, play, home, family. Maybe side jobs, freelancing.

Lots of medium clusters, so close together to look like a giant cluster
Good life, but now it’s advanced to the point that several people in each cluster know people from other clusters. This guy has good social skills, and mixes his friends. Advanced user, has been online a while.

Ending thought – this is not particularly informative or useful as an article, but once you try it out, you get a realization that even relatively unexpected bits of data – like do your friends know each other or not – can actually be mined now to create a meaningful result. I, personally, was quite surprised at some of the connections that emerged – people I didn’t think were surprisingly well-entrenched amongst my friends – and others, that I thought were part of my core group turned out to be surprisingly far out on the periphery.

At the very least, it makes planning the guest list for the next party easier. 😉

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