Saturday, 16 August 2008


It's been a while since I wrote about a Facebook app, which is probably driven by the reduced frequency with which I visit Facebook. There is, however, a constant reminder for me that I am a member, which is the constant email alerts. The most interesting of which is from the Compare People app, with the subject header of 'Tony, your strengths and weaknesses, as voted by your friends'. It's difficult not to open these messages.

It's your social identity as agreed by your Facebook friends - a wisdom of the crowds, so its verdict is potentially very powerful. I originally got this mixed bag of not too complimentary strengths and weaknesses:

most loyal
best room-mate

best travel companion

Since this original ranking, each time I receive an alert my rankings always goes down, never up, in messages like this: Changes in your ranks:#6 most generous (lost 1 place)#6 most loyal (lost 2 places)#7 most fashionable (lost 1 place)#17 most reliable (lost 17 places)#19 most popular (lost 2 places)

I started wondering whether this was due to falling levels of popularity and esteem amongst my friends (me as neurotic) or to something specific about the algorithm or process (me as narcissist).

The chart below from Andomics, suggest to me that both explanations could be true.

Firstly, the chart shows that app is continuing to gain installs (pink line), and thus new people are discovering it each day. Secondly, once discovered the number of daily active users (blue line) declines as people don't continue comparing after the initial novelty.

If my closest Facebook friends discovered this app when I did (which they did), then they are likely to have given me the highest rankings, and not gone back and re-ranked me, or even used the app again. Since that time, people less connected to me, have discovered the app, and given me lower rankings which explains my falling rank. This could of course all be rubbish attributions, but it'll keep my ego intact for the next email alert I receive of falling rankings. Either that or it is genuinely the wisdom of crowds telling me I'm spending too much time blogging.


Mihir said...

well !! this application is funny ..
when u goto an individuals page and see a box to compare tht person with someone ... u get to compare it wid everyone on ur friends list. .

and u can keep on doing tht as long as u wish to ...

i got my Friend on top of all comparision on her list ...

by just comparing her again n again giving her votes ... and this shuld lead to loss of rank for others as it gives -ve impact in terms of % of vote.

Tony Effik said...

Thanks for the tip Mihir. I'll get my friends clicking.

These Facebook Apps are mostly just fun things, but you could see how they might evolve into something else. For example, could Compare People become a source for references for jobs, or credit checks and other things? Just a thought

Mihir said...

lol !!

dont do tht .. i wont b able to keep my friend on top list for ever :(

lol ! but yeh it makes sense ..

well ! i hv lot of people on my list ... but if i go for compare. .. few individuals gets repeated many times ..