Friday, October 26, 2012

The Mini 6 Friends Search

Once again, it's been awhile since I last blogged. Approximately 2 weeks ago, I had a good catch up with two of my besties, and I casually asked them, 'do you know how Facebook timeline organise the 6 'little' friends on your profile horizontal bar?' One said it is of random odds, the other wondered about that question too.

After that day, I embarked on a search on the web, similarly some said it is random, and there is already a research/experiment on the topic. It turned out it isn't random or coincidence, as I have already known. According to this website, there has to be some sort of Facebook interaction between you and that particular person for them to show up on your profile's mini 6.

Perhaps due to I am studying Sociology and Statistics, I am drawn to conducting a small experiment to search for my Top Friends on Facebook. I am curious who will be on my list as well. Below are my findings for 7 days:-

  • To compile the top friends of the day, you will need to refresh at least 10 times.
  • The range of top friends varies at 24 to 27 people. Out of my 633 friends, that's around 4% of my total friends.
  • Out of the 24 to 27 people, about 5 or 6 are guys. (Darn, that's sad)
  • 3 out of 4 of my family members are on the list. (It makes sense for my parents to check on me, but my little brother? The one who doesn't show on the list makes sense as well, because he has blocked me.)
  • My secondary gang of girlfriends are constantly on my list too. (Consider the amount of pictures we have together, the amount of time we talked and spent together.)
  • A couple of AISM friends. (Thankfully, are those I care for)
  • More than a couple of UOL coursemates. (Of some which I really wonder why them)
  • A junior whom I never talked to or stalked. (There's only an explanation, I am being stalked, LOL)
  • My current crush (Is it because of me constantly stalking his profile or he sees mine too?)
  • The list isn't consistent, at about 20 people are the same throughout the 7 days, just a minimal of them came on and off. (Probably depends on the frequency of interaction). Those who came on and off are predictable yet surprising at the same time, often they used to/are close but will eventually become acquaintances. 
It has been an interesting experiment, though my findings aren't able to prove anything but the fact that I am pathetic and lifeless, because I would refresh my page countless times so that my crush will appear on my mini 6. When the status bar 'asked' you 'what's on your mind', probably those sociologists on Facebook have already known. Doubt so? At least they know your top friends and able to tell who have interactions that you don't even know.

Cameron Marlow, a data scientist and 'in-house' sociologist in Facebook publishes his papers on studies on social networks and 'trying to understand how the data platforms of the future will change the roles of reseachers in the enterprise and academia'. You probably thought only friends you approved can see your 'stuff', mind you, those geniuses in Silicon Valley are monitoring your moves as well. Scary not?

On how my little experiment can be improved? I shall haul any Facebook interaction and focus on my UOL studies, especially on Sociology and Statistics. This post explains what am I up to, anything but following my routine and plan. Go ahead and find out your top friends, see if I am one of them. Interesting fact is, only you will know ;) 


Refreshing my Facebook profile madly,
Wen Xin