Friday, June 12, 2015

The Analytics of FaceBook and what it says about you (and others)

There’s no way that I could possibly go into all that FaceBook (and Google) knows about me from the amalgamation of all the sites I have visited and the content that I have produced, not to mention what they gather from the data of all of my friends and acquaintances about me through their own links and hits to my material. But I do want to hit on one crazy connection that intrigues and scares me at the same time.

FaceBook presumably tracks the degree to which each of my posts has been clicked in any way by my friends, whether they simply read it, clicked on the forwarding link, liked it, commented on it, shared it, etc. (Note that while I may not know who lurked it, FaceBook does!) That means that there is a way for FaceBook to tell me what aspect of my on-line personality is of interest to each of my friends. Presumably each of these faces is different and is somehow a reflection not just of myself but also that of my fB friend. There’s clearly some statistical error and noise among these faces because each is contingent on the overall activity of a given fB friend and their strategy for digesting fB content. Nevertheless, it seems nearly unfathomable that fB has a way to access the degree of my multiple personalities by way of running statistics on these faces. In turn, such data would presumably be possible for me to obtain a better understanding of what I really have in common with a given friend. Chances are that knowing this would make the relationship weaker rather than stronger as I might be tempted to zero in on only the known overlaps rather than the discovery of new commonalities. But how will I or you actually respond to this type of information when fB eventually gives us this (new) feature (whether free or charged)?

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