The first feature, announced yesterday, is called Lexicon. The feature is designed to show the popularity of terms on the site’s millions of “walls.” (For the uninitiated, the “Wall” is the section of each individual or group profile page where people can leave messages.) Lexicon generates graphs and charts of the information to show, as CNET puts it, “how many Facebook members are talking about” your query. CNET compares the data to Google’s Zeitgeist.
Facebook says of the new product:
“Facebook Lexicon aggregates and analyzes millions of Wall posts on the site every day to provide a snapshot of the collective conversation on the site,” the company explained in an FAQ. “Users can query as many as five strings of a single word or two-word combinations. The analysis for Lexicon is done automatically without any person reading Wall posts and without access to any personal information.”
Here’s the graph for “love” (since neither “marketing pilgrim” nor “seo” returned any data):
Love seems to have a weekly cycle, with decided peaks around Christmas and Valentine’s Day.
Naturally, this data could be more useful in marketing and reputation management than just remarking on the popularity of the term “love.” However, CNET points out some early limitations: the data is only archived to 8 Sept 2007, and cannot currently be segmented by geography or demography. And, naturally, just because you know people are talking about you/your products/etc., you don’t always know what they’re saying.
Other features added this week, through API integration and not formal agreements, are some additions to the Mini-Feed (again, for the uninitiated, this is the section of a profile page that displays a user’s recent Facebook activities). The new Import feature allows Facebook users to import items (called “stories”) to their Mini-Feeds from their Flickr, Picasa, Delicious, Yelp and (added today) Digg accounts:
The integration is an interesting move from Facebook, which is often criticized for building a walled garden. Further integration with other social sites is something they’ve usually left to application developers. Could these developments be a signal of a changing attitude at Facebook?