Over the past 24 hours a new application, sponsored by SAP, has been spreading like wildfire: Friend Network Optimizer. The application tells users how active they are on Facebook in comparison to a segment of their social graph. It’s an interesting tool and it also is spreading by automatically posting feed stories the moment a user installs the application. The technique has effectively helped the application grow to tens of thousands of users overnight.
As soon as users go to install the application, they see the following permissions dialogue:
As you notice, the application requests to be able to post wall posts at any point. While Facebook’s new permissions process is much more efficient, and will most likely result in increased conversion of new users, users are also now required to grant all or no permissions to application developers. It’s an interesting decision by Facebook and it could result in a number of other applications copying the strategy implemented by Friend Network Optimizer.
After installing the application, users have the following story posted to their profile:
So far I’ve seen at least 5 friends in the past 24 hours have this story show up on their profile. So is this a good thing or a bad thing? For developers, I think this is great! It means there are still ways to organically grow applications without massive ad buys. For users I don’t really think it’s a horrible thing as long as Facebook is actively policing the Platform to prevent spam developers from exploiting this communication channel.
Ultimately this application reveals some interesting statistics, as pictured below.
The Friend Network Optimizer application measures your daily volume of status updates, wall posts, photo uploads, and “social activities”, a category which most likely includes commenting, among other things. It then shows you how your activity compares to friends as well as other people who have installed the application. You can also see how changes in your activity will adjust your ranking among users on the site.
It’s a pretty cool application for checking how active other Facebook users are and what’s a “normal” level of activity on the site. If you want to see how you rank among your friends, as well as other Facebook users, go install the Friend Network Optimizer application. Just be warned that it will post a story to your Facebook wall.