A thorough Facebook analysis by Stephen Wolfram

Posted to Statistical Visualization  |  Tags: ,  |  Nathan Yau

Stephen Wolfram analyzed the Facebook world, based on anonymized data from the Wolfram|Alpha Data Donor program. He visits topics from how people friend, how the Facebook world compares to the real one, and how people change with age.

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. The peak time for anyone to talk about school+university is (not surprisingly) around age 20. People get less interested in talking about "special occasions" (mostly birthdays) through their teens, but gradually gain interest later. And people get progressively more interested in talking about career+money in their 20s. And so on. And so on.

Worth the full read.


  • I love the color palette Stephen used.

  • This is very cool, however one point I saw somewhere else as well that I’d like to make. It appears that he’s looking at the data as a snapshot of all users today, rather than studying a cohort as they age. Therefore some of the statements are misleading – I don’t think we can necessarily say “People tend to care more about X as they age.” Instead, we can only say “Today, 40-60 year olds care more about X than 20-40 year olds.”

    One example of this is the “Topics Discussed” chart on “Social Media”. Those under 20 talk about social media a ton, while older people talk about it much less. But teens grew up immersed in social media, and most older people did not. Who’s to say that when those teens become 50 years old, they won’t still be talking about social media?


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