Product Review: Facebook Friend Wheel

I had talked about on this blog about the kind of influence different posts you make in Facebook will have in your Facebook Friend circle. In one of the articles, I had mentioned a Facebook application called Friend Wheel which shows a graphical representation of your Friend List.

You enable this free application by adding it to your Facebook Profile like you would with a social game like Farmville.

This application works through your Facebook friend list and identifies any situations where your Facebook Friends have other Facebook Friends that are in your list in their lists. Then it resolves these relationships in a graphical manner by plotting each Friend’s name as a node on the edge of a circle and showing each link as a line. It can show clusters of people who know each other through a particular community by “bunching” the people together. There is the ability not to plot friends that aren’t connected to other Facebook Friends in your list, which may be beneficial to those who have links with larger social circles.

The Wheel can he shown as a static image or, for most of us who have Flash-enabled Web environment (which doesn’t include the Apple iPad), there is a Flash version which allows you to hover over the name of a Facebook Friend and show their connections to any of your other Facebook Friends.

It can be slow with larger Facebook Friend lists, especially those that are well connected because of having to plot many nodes and draw many lines. But it is speedy with most Friend lists. There isn’t an option to take advantage of the “lists” function so that you can plot the Friend Wheel on the social sets that you define using these lists. As well, it doesn’t identify Facebook Friends who have subscribed to any particular Fan Pages or Groups.

One main use that I would find for this application is if you are investigating the “reach” of comments or other material posted on particular Facebook Friends’ Walls.

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