Facebook and Twitter Math

It was on the Slate Culture Gabfest podcast that I heard the most appropriate, concise, and interesting description of the differences between Facebook and Twitter. It was something like this:

Facebook is like a cocktail party, where everyone dresses up, puts on their best outfit, monitors their speech, are particular about who they are seen with, and carefully behaves themselves. Twitter is like a bar where you walk in an everyone is shouting and having interesting conversations about anything.

I think that description is spot on, and part of the reason why I prefer Twitter over Facebook. There are no obligations to be friends with classmates or people you know. In fact, I probably only know personally about 3% of the people I follow on Twitter. Nevertheless, I find it to be a much more interesting place and a much more productive place than Facebook (but then, of course I would, I’m a 26-34 year old male, see below). Want to ask a question about education and the Wii? Just ask the question and add the hashtag #edchat and within seconds you’ll have a response.

But this post isn’t a screed about the FB vs. Twitter wars. It’s about math.


This infographic from http://www.digitalsurgeons.com.

Guided Questions

  • What surprised you about this data?
  • Mining the data a little:
    • Note that Twitter usage is at a low in High School, but then spikes in college. What does that imply?
    • Note that Twitter has a much greater percentage of users updating their status every day, but Facebook has a higher percentage of users who log in everyday. Are we a nation of voyeurs?
    • Note that Twitter has a higher percentage of users logging in via mobile device. Does that mean anything?
  • What do the data suggest for advertising firms?

Suggested Activities

  • Students could assess the data (being careful about the raw numbers, which greatly swings the advantage to Facebook) and give a presentation on target markets. For instance, split the class up into Facebook groups and Twitter groups. Tell them they have 45 minutes to come up with three products to advertise on FB or Twitter and why.
  • I see a Venn Diagram or two fitting in here.
  • Correlation and regression. Person A is 34, male, and earns $45,000 a year. Is Person A more likely to have a Facebook account, Twitter account, or both?

All math teachers have either seen and/or administered some sort of “Which cell phone plan should you choose?” problem. Well, this is a bit more interesting to me: which social networking site should you use or advertise on. It’s a bit more open ended a question, and probably more applicable to the kind of questions students will face at the next level.

‘Readymade’ Suitcase Project (Part 2)

If you didn’t see the intro to this project, check out Part 1. Briefly, I want to make this:

Now that I’ve categorized all the items for my travel needs, I need to measure the dimensions to determine the smallest travel case I can purchase.

Here’s that list of items again.

4 pairs of socks
4 T-shirts
4 pairs of boxer shorts
1 dress shirt
1 Toiletry Bag
2 pairs of pants
1 pair of workout/sleeping pants/shorts

1 Phone charger
1 set of keys
1 book, which I probably won’t read
1 winter hat & 1 pair of gloves for colder seasons/locales
1 swimsuit for warmer seasons/locales

Out comes the measuring tape. Who’s ready to see picture of my socks??

(note: my apologies for the unreadable numbers on the tape measure. The close up resolution on my camera is probably worse than the one on your phone. So I put the dimensions on there (using Inkscape) for clarity’s sake. Click on the picture if you want to enlarge. For some strange reason.)

Here are the dimensions in table form.

Length (inches) Width (inches) Depth (inches) # Volume (in3)
4 boxer shorts 6 3 2 4 144
4 pairs of socks 8 2 3 4 192
4 T-shirts 11 8 1.5 4 528
1 dress shirt 11 9 4 1 396
1 Toiletry Bag 9 5 4 1 180
2 pairs of pants 11 11 2 2 484
1 pair of workout/sleeping pants/shorts 11 5 4 1 220
1 Phone charger 3 2 2 1 12
1 set of keys 2 1 1 1 2
1 book, which I probably won’t read 6 9 2 1 108
1 winter hat & 1 pair of gloves for colder seasons/localesor, 1 swimsuit for warmer seasons/locales 8 4 4 1 128
Total volume 2396

So if I had the ability to mash all my objects up into a perfect rectangular prism, I would require 2396 cubic inches. This begs some additional questions:

Post-it Notes animation


This video of some amazing stop-motion animation using post-its dubbed ‘Deadline.’

Guiding Questions

  • How long did this take?
  • What’s the time-length of each frame?
  • How many post-its were used? How many of each color?
  • Something about coordinate transformation?
  • Can we do this?

Suggested Activities

  • Have students use coordinate geometry and transformations to make their own stop-motion post-it video. Or at least storyboard it. I imagine by the time something like this is planned out and storyboarded, there would be a TON of coordinate geometry and transformations involved. Even a 30-second stop-motion post-it video could probably involved dozens and dozens of coordinate transformations.

Aaron Rodgers, Super Bowl MVP, has given us the go-ahead; the ball is in your court, Math teachers


By the way, how cool would it be if you did have a WWE-style championship belt in your class? Something huge and gaudy, preferably. And the student who most highly succeeds on a test, presentation, etc. gets to wear it until it is “taken” by another student.

I’m also envisioning entrance music.

I’m in love with a suitcase; ‘Readymade’ Suitcase Project (Part 1)

My job affords me the opportunity to travel all over the country and observe teachers putting their best feet forward. Problem is, I’ve never been much of a traveller. I’m terrible at packing. Therefore, I could really use something like this:

This is a project suggested by Readymade magazine. I don’t want to gush too much, but I absolutely love this suitcase. Seriously, I would marry this suitcase like that girl did the Eiffel Tower if it were legal. I want one. Unfortunately, the whole point of Readymade is to get you to make your own stuff. So it looks like I’ll be tackling this project.

I don’t have a cool, classic hard cased suitcase like this, so I’m going to have to buy one at a thrift store or something. How big of a suitcase will I need?