Saturday, March 21, 2009

Visual Facebook Social Graph

Was reading about social networks in the NKU project management course textbook that I am currently taking and thought to myself there has got to be an application that you can use to login to Facebook and have it gather your social graph or "Friend" data and produce a visual social graph. A few minutes on Google and what I found was the Curl Rich Internet Application (RIA) platform from Curl along with a sample application called CurlGraph.

Long story short, after downloading their Run Time Environment (RTE) and pasting a URL into the address field of my browser, I installed the CurlGraph application on my system. Then after logging into Facebook with the app, it collected my Friends network info and then produced the following social graph visualization.

Click on the pic to get the larger image.

The neat thing about the app is that I could select anyone represented on the graph and they would then move to the center of the display. You could drag your friends around on the display and sort your social graph by alphabet or by popularity. Note that your Facebook friends are represented as circles. Also the popularity, or size of the circle, is based on the intersection set of friends that you have in common with each friend not on their total set of friends. That is why my wife's circle is large as we have nearly the same set of Facebook friends. Also note that while the bold lines connect my friends to me, the web of relationships that exist from all the friends is visible. This changes when you select a friend with your mouse as the connecting lines from them to your other friends then become bold.

In summary, I find it interesting when finding different ways to visualize data. This certainly tells you more about your Facebook Friend network than a grid of pictures.

Here is Curl's press:
Using Curl, developers can implement a new class of complex, business-critical, Web-based applications that cannot easily be developed with Ajax or other smart client technologies.

Curl allows organizations with legacy client-server applications to move to Web-based delivery, increasing reach, improving processes, accelerating productivity and reducing cost.

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