WolframAlpha Facebook Report

This is a delightful exercise that everyone seems to love. WolframAlpha will provide you with an extremely detailed analysis of your own Facebook data including visualizations, world clouds, graphs, and more.

Graph of Facebook Activity over time




Here’s how:

  1. Go to WolframAlpha.com.
  2. Type “Facebook Report” and execute the search.
  3. Allow WolframAlpha to have access to your Facebook account by clicking on “Analyze my Facebook Data” and following the directions.
  4. Wait while the data is analyzed.

Note: Sometimes the report seems to stall after 100% of the data is analyzed. If this happens, simply repeat steps 1-3. The second time, the report seems to load just fine.


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Navigating WolframAlpha Pro Features

Last week I had to do a workshop about WolframAlpha, and I noticed that there are three different feature sets: not logged in, logged in, logged in to Pro.

I needed to know which login settings provided which features (especially for giving workshops and working with students), so I decided to be thorough about it.  You can download the PDF of this document, Guide to Wolfram Alpha Features, as well.

Hope this makes the decision-making a little easier for you!


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Wolfram Alpha in a Nutshell

This little video is reminiscent of the “in Plain English” videos that we all love.  If you’re trying to explain Wolfram Alpha to a non-math person, try Wolfram Alpha in a Nutshell.

Thanks to the Tech the Plunge blog for pointing this one out.

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TED Talk on Wolfram Alpha

The talk is titled “Computing a Theory of Everything

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Wolfram Alpha Discovery

Okay, technically it was a workshop at ICTCM, but with 30 math faculty in one room, all armed with computers, I couldn’t help but make it a discovery and brainstorming session too.  I’m a firm believer in harnessing the power of a room of people instead of talking to them (provided that we have some technology to facilitate that).

This post is Part I … the discovery portion of the workshop.

One of the things that made this workshop a bit out-of-the-ordinary for math workshops was that I set up a “backchannel” for participants to use to share their thoughts, discoveries, and ideas.   To do this, I used a Chatzy Virtual Room – anyone can “join the room” as long as they know the URL – just state your name, and you’re in the chat room.  This made the discovery process collaborative, as well as fast and furious as everyone in the room got a chance to contribute to the conversation in real time.


The first question I was asked (which I am asked in almost every workshop I do), is how on earth I was magnifying just a small portion of the screen (like where the input box was).  I use a free tool called the Virtual Magnifier.


The group “play” with Wolfram Alpha lasted for about an hour, during which we (they, mostly) discovered quite a few interesting things, all of which I am sharing with you here in a clickable format.


Did we forget to mention that you can copy images (or save them) directly from W|A output? [right click or command-click (mac) on the image to get copy and save options] You can actually do this for any output of W|A, including tables, equations, and images.





  • When you use ln(x) the output shows log(x), which has traditionally been Mathematica notation for natural log.  To get a log with base b, use log(b,x).  Yes, the graphs suck.  That’s something I’ll post about later this week.

With Wolfram Alpha, you can compare any list of items that have some kind of data associated with them.  Just separate the items with a comma:

Participants also stumbled upon Alpha’s sense of humor …

That was approximately one hour of our Wolfram Alpha Workshop with about 95% of the content and discovery being done by participants.  It took me three hours to write that up, which just goes to show you how powerful a backchannel chat window can be!  I will save the brainstorming session “How can we restructure classroom learning and assignments to use Wolfram Alpha?” in another post.

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