We’ve been wondering how to do analysis on Facebook users, given those pesky privacy settings that can lock out all the cheerful bots and scrapers of market researchers. If you can’t see a profile, you can’t… well… profile. Can you?
Enter FanPageAnalytics.com, which cleverly uses Facebook fan pages, and builds datasets based on who “Became a fan of…” various things. For example, who likes Freeze Pops? And what would an ambitious, cut-throat Freeze Pop executive give for a detailed profile of desert-dwelling fans?
From the About page: Fan Page Analytics uses over 100 million public profiles to offer detailed information on popular brands, bands, politicians and celebrities.
As a result you get gorgeous visualizations like this:
The data is already being used to make new borders for post-2012 North America, after the Mayan calendar has expired and the US government collapses:
The image above shows connections between locations which share friends. “For example, a lot of people in LA have friends in San Francisco, so there’s a line between them.” Given this beginning:
Looking at the network of US cities, it’s been remarkable to see how groups of them form clusters, with strong connections locally but few contacts outside the cluster. For example Columbus, OH and Charleston WV are nearby as the crow flies, but share few connections, with Columbus clearly part of the North, and Charleston tied to the South.