For those of us who have siblings and a certain degree of neuroticism, it’s natural, after a tense family dinner or being told that no, your parents won’t invest in your awesome new social app start-up, to wonder how you stack up in mom and dad’s eyes as compared to your brothers or sisters. A new Facebook app (slash advertisement for Modern Family in New Zealand), the “Favourite Child Detector” purports to allow you to solve this mystery — if you dare.
As Digiday explains, the app “examines the behavior of Mom and Dad on Facebook and tallies their ‘likes,’ tags, comments and photos, to determine which kid will most likely have preferred status in the will.”
Suffice it to say, this isn’t entirely scientific — if your brother is eagerly posting proud pictures of his meth lab on Facebook and you barely ever go on there, that could account for the disproportionate amount of online attention being showered on your sibling. But there’s a kernel of real social science here in that researchers are working with a remarkable amount of new data being produced by our online interactions — data that can, when dealt with in a careful way, tell us a lot about ourselves.
As for the Favorite Child Detector, the standard warnings about giving away your data and then complaining when companies have your data certainly apply.