Mine Our Data!

Or let us. That's Michael Agger's request for Facebook:

It would be helpful for transportation planners to know the places where people complain the most about traffic. Educators could see the data and sentiment analysis around how a community feels about its local schools. The writer Marshall Kirkpatrick at readwriteweb.com has called for Facebook to open up its data for research. He points to the fact that the discriminatory practice of redlining was discovered "when both U.S. Census information and real estate mortgage loan information were made available for bulk analysis." And he rightly speculates that "patterns of comparable importance" could be found in Facebook's enormous social graph.

Facebook's challenge is to leverage that social graph in a way that doesn't alienate us all. The site analyzes us for the benefit of its advertisers but offers only limited peaks at what its engineers are capable of.