Sunday, April 23, 2017

Statistically speaking, are you going to snap me back?

Snapchat is a social media platform that allows people to send pictures for a designated period of time. It is swiftly rising to the top of the social media food chain. The easy to use interface is equipped with filters that allow users to jazz up their selfies with backgrounds or costumes.

There are currently 158 million people on Snapchat. There are 80 million American users and 100 million people between the ages of 12- 34 in America suggesting that there is a 80% chance that if you send a Snapchat, as a millennial, you will get a snap back. These numbers are used to generate probabilities. In probability theory, we consider randomness and uncertainty in models but in statistics we make observations to figure out a process.  To generate statistics on whether someone will send you a snapchat in return you would need to establish a relationship. You would need to keep track of past events and establish patterns. It begs the question how can we use randomness to determine statistics.

Chevalier de Mere was a gambling man interested in seeing if the “house” truly always wins. In a game of dice a player would roll four dice and the player would win if no six appeared on any die. The Monte Carlo was created by George Louis LeClerc. The simulation is essentially a coin flip simulator. He used the principle of Buffon’s needle which can be simulated on: http://www.metablake.com/pi.swf. He estimated that the probability of the needles crossing when being thrown randomly is 2/π. The Monte Carlo method has since been modified many times but requires three things: modeling of a system of probability density functions, repeatedly sampling from these functions and computing the statistics of interest. All in all, simulation of data and performing statistical analysis is the intersect between statistics and probability.

Unfortunately, millennials, until a great statistician like you models the probability density function for Snapchats returned we remain with our sad return probability of 80%. Hopefully you become BFFs with Kylie Jenner so she can increase your probability. Until then… Happy modeling!