Northeastern University

Friendlist manager

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Here’s a cool new FB app from computer sciences professor, Alan Mislove. It’s called Friendlist Manager and it makes using lists on the social-network (a.k.a. time sink) a whole lot easier (as if you needed anything on FB to be easier, since you don’t already spend enough time there).

Mislove uses network information to build systems like Friendlist Manager, and others that solve bigger problems like ebay fraud. In this case, the program looks at how all your friends are connected to each other. Then it builds mini-networks based on the results and turns them into list suggestions. You can opt to add or remove friends and merge multiple lists. When you post a new status or photo, you can chose to share it with one or all of these lists using the drop down menu provided by FB. No more worrying about your mother reading about all the bad decisions you make!

The visualization here shows my LinkedIn connections and has nothing to do with Friendlist Manager, except that it illustrates the kind of network Mislove’s program uses to detect groups. The blue area here is the group of all my college friends, green is high school friends, and pink is work friends.

This is similar to the network another of Mislove’s programs uses to identify fraudulent Ebay users. Currently, we have no way of knowing if an Ebay seller’s good reputation comes from real feedback or feedback from a bunch of fake users s/he created just for that purpose. Visualizing the network of feedback “receipts” would set a fraudulent user apart from the main network because all of his/her connections are within a single group (the one s/he created). A trustworthy seller would have feedback coming from all over the place.

So, while this kind of tool is great for simplifying our Facebook friend lists, it also has some truly practical applications that could help the world in a variety of ways. Check out Mislove’s website here and download the Friendlist Manager here. Also, if you want to create a funky LinkedIn picture like this one, or a whole bunch of other personal visualizations, go here.

 

Photo via LinkedIn Maps by Manuel Lima


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