Slidecasting nicely shows off my 243-slides-in-15-minutes presentation...
Free pizza and soft drinks *from an airline*? in 2007? in a terminal? (Yes, it's true...)

FriendWheel provides an interesting (and pretty) way of visualizing the connections between your friends

image As I've always been fascinated by ways of visualizing data, I naturally had to try out the "FriendWheel" application now available inside of Facebook.  One result, taking all the defaults, is now visible on the right (click for a much larger image).  The "What is this?" link on the page says this:

The circle shows part of a social network. Around the edge of the circle are Dan York's friends. If two of them are connected by a line, it means that they are friends with each other. Relationships between different groups of friends (eg. "Home friends" and "University/College friends") can often be seen in the circle. It's also brightly coloured and looks pretty.

Once you add the app to your Facebook profile, you can then configure it using a range of settings and then generate the wheel image.  It takes a little bit because it has to get information about your friends and their connections in order to generate the information. 

Naturally, I was a bit concerned about the fact that data about all my friends and their connections were going to someone else's computers, at least for the time required to generate the image, and so did read the privacy policy, which states this:

Friend Wheel will retrieve the names of all your friends and all links between your friends. This data will be shown on the friend wheel image. This image is not publically viewable (but you can show it to whoever you want by sending them the entire URL of the enlarged image).
Your Friend Wheel will be accessible to anyone who knows the pass-code for your wheel. This is shown (as part of the URL) in the "Friend Wheel" box on your profile, so anyone who can see this will be able to see your wheel.
To configure who can see the wheel on your profile, visit the
Applications Settings page (click on "edit settings" next to Friend Wheel and choose from the drop-down box).
You can remove the application at any time. Your Friend Wheel will then be deleted.

However, this doesn't answer the larger question to me about the fact that the data about all my friends and their connections is at least temporarily residing in "Thomas Fletcher's" computers while the script is running.  I guess we have to hope he's not doing anything with the data (or else we don't use the app).

image In any event, potential privacy concerns aside, the tool is quite interesting.  You can choose to graph only a subset of your friends, graph one of your networks, graph a random assortment of friends, graph mutual friends of one of your friends... and more.  Lots of other tweaks you can make to it.  In the image to the left, I changed the "grouping algorithm" from the default of "FriendGroupster-4000", which appears to put blocks of your friends together, to just a straight alphabetical grouping.  This, obviously, doesn't really help you see a whole lot.

I noticed today that the developer has added an "Interactive Flash Map" which lets you play even more with the data:

You can mouseover friends to highlight their links, click and drag to move friends around, zoom in and out by using the buttons in the top left, and pan by clicking and dragging in white space.

All in all an intriguing little app that helps highlight the connections between your various "friends" within Facebook.

UPDATE: I meant to note that where I first saw Friend Wheel being used was in Phil Wolff's new banner for Skype Journal (described here).