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Help us build the Idea Graph: A click is all we ask

If you want to skip the babbling and just sign up, click here, then install the app.

Life is very random. You’ve probably noticed.

For example, did you know that I like Marilyn Manson’s music, but I’m also a fan of Beethoven. I love to watch the NFL but not baseball. I like electric cars and the environment, but I also like target shooting and air shows.

It makes no sense. Or does it? I’ve been digging around Facebook for a few years now, running ads based on all sorts of random interests. Yes, selling colon cleanses to Britney Spears fans was highly effective.

All of this led me to the conclusion that random is the new consistent: Everyone appears random. But there are patterns in all that randomness.

And from that chaos was born my latest project: The Idea Graph. I’m starting with Facebook data, later expanding to other social networks. The Graph maps out unexpected relationships, not between people (the social graph), but between ideas. It’s a social graph for topics.

To grow it, though, I need your help. I need a huge database of ‘likes’, grouped by Facebook user, to make this work. I’m only using the data anonymously. And I’ll be releasing the first dataset at MozCon, for free.

I won’t commit to that for later, multi-million-record datasets – someone’ll have to pay for air conditioning to keep servers from exploding, for one thing.

The result will be a list of topics and their distance – the likelihood that someone who likes that topic will like another particular topic. We can use it to create cool, contract-boosting but impossible-to-interpret graphs like this:

A tiny slice of a tiny idea graph

More important, you can use this for content brainstorming. Writing for Uneeda Burger? Need topic ideas? How about V for Vendetta?

Zooming in now

Please participate—you’ll help create a better dataset we can all use.

Click here. Then add the app to Facebook. Thanks!

CEO & Founder

Ian Lurie is CEO and founder of Portent and the EVP of Marketing Services at Clearlink. He's been a digital marketer since the days of AOL and Compuserve (25 years, if you're counting). He's recorded training for Lynda.com, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Smashing Magazine, and TechCrunch. Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, Seattle Interactive Conference and ad:Tech. He has published several books about business and marketing: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle, The Web Marketing All-In-One Desk Reference for Dummies, and Conversation Marketing. Follow him on Twitter at portentint, and on LinkedIn at LinkedIn.com/in/ianlurie.

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  1. My old theatre teacher used to yell and yell at us about randomness. I don’t really remember his point, which makes me think he probably didn’t have one.
    ANYWAY, sounds cool. I can’t wait to see what shows up in the data.

  2. Oh well I’ve added the app Ian.. only because I am a fan of yours :-). not that I go around adding apps all the time like this but I guess I am a bit intrigued to see how your experiment pans out.
    Haven’t really got a clue what it’s about but I’m sure I can find something in the potentially “random insights” LOL
    And as Samara says… you give tons for free so we should be helping back ..even in small ways like this.
    Good luck with it all.

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