I discovered a brilliantly powerful tool for Facebook today. Socialistics is designed to ‘help you understand your social network’.
It takes information from your profile about the people in your network and creates a series of pretty graphs.
Here is the gender split of my network:
And here is the age split:
It is interesting to look at and play with for a bit, but there is, naturally, another huge issue at work here.
With this information, it is possible to tell, without looking at your profile, the sort of person you are; your interests are there for all to see.
This makes it the perfect tool for advertisers to use to specifically target you as a possible consumer.
It would be hypocritical of me to say it’s a bad thing; the Facebook Cedar ad makes this the case. It is and it isn’t. it is a good thing for advertisers because they can send the messages out to the people that they want to hear them. It is good for the consumer because you are only seeing ads that are relevant to you.
The negative aspect is almighty. The level of personal information included on a profile is entirely left upto the user’s discretion, but that doesn’t mean that it should be exploited.
Worse still, should personal data be stored to an external source, it isn’t worth thinking about what might happen to it if it were to fall into the wrong hands.
So yes, a wonderful tool, but a brilliantly dangerous one at that