When Wolfram|Alpha announced that it was providing Personal Analytics for Facebook, more than a million people signed up for the service and contributed to the Data Donor programme, which allows people to contribute their data for research purposes. Well, the computational search engine has now released a report based on the analysis of this data, and it turns out the mass majority of Facebook users' lives aren't really that unique.
The report points out that people make more friends when they are younger and that 70 percent of the people on Facebook get married by the time they hit 30. It also shows how the topics people talk about change as they age. Curiously, the data also revealed how users of Facebook have managed to perpetuate gender-based stereotypes. “It’s almost shocking how much this tells us about the evolution of people’s typical interests. People talk less about video games as they get older, and more about politics and the weather. Men typically talk more about sports and technology than women—and, somewhat surprisingly to me, they also talk more about movies, television and music. Women talk more about pets+animals, family+friends, relationships—and, at least after they reach child-bearing years, health,” writes Stephen Wolfram, the man behind the engine, on the official blog.
Interestingly, the analysis shows that Indian users of Facebook are most likely to move to the USA, followed by the UK and Singapore. While you could argue that's nothing new, this is perhaps the first time that we are clearly seeing statistical data from a social network backing up the fact.
Where are users from a country most likely to migrate?
Wolfram|Alpha’s report also shows that in terms of the average number of friends, Indian users fall squarely in the middle. The data shows that Indian users on an average have between 200 and 250 friends.
If you think all this is a frighteningly generalised view of things, Wolfram adds, “Some of this is rather depressingly stereotypical. And most of it isn’t terribly surprising to anyone who’s known a reasonable diversity of people of different ages. But what to me is remarkable is how we can see everything laid out in such quantitative detail. (It’s) kind of a signature of people’s thinking as they go through life.”
Topics split by how often men or women talk about them
This just goes to show how predictable human nature can be, even in a space that allows and even encourages people from all walks of life to mingle. Of course, considering Facebook has been in our lives for less than a decade, perhaps it's too early to expect social networks to change social perception and gender-based stereotypes.
Images courtesy: Wolfram|Alpha
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