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:
More important, you can use this for content brainstorming. Writing for Uneeda Burger? Need topic ideas? How about V for Vendetta?
Please participate—you’ll help create a better dataset we can all use.