The World’s Mood in a Box!!

On: October 11, 2010
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About Laila Koubia
From Dutch/Moroccan background // Female // BA in Communication and Multimedia Design // working experience in narrowcasting // freelance multimedia designer // MA New Media student at the UvA // ------ BA in Communication and Multimedia Design at The Hague University of Applied Sciences. Worked three years as administrator of a narrowcasting system and editor in chief of a studentTV station [H/TV]. Since 2007 freelance multimedia designer at LK Design [lailakoubia.com]. Interest goes out to the use of media in non-western countries (particularly Arab countries), media ethics, media in education, media-art, surveillance…

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http://www.lailakoubia.com    

‘How’s the world feeling right now? This box will tell you…’

In this contribution I would like to focus on the urge of the modern day human to feel constantly connected to the world. If we look at the history of the human race we see a constant reccuring drive to connect, communicate and interact. It lies at the core of the human psychology and so is it completely normal to keep chasing this feeling of ‘constantly being connected to the world’.  The only thing that changes throughout the history is the medium which varies from time to time. If we look at contemporary society we see new media, especially social media, as the new medium for this.

“Social media isn’t a fad, it’s a fundemental shift in how we communicate”.

Socialnomics is a blog covering social media and the influence of it. In an animation made by Socialnomics the facts about social media are being displayed and put into discussion.

 These are some pretty impressive numbers. We can not ignore the fact that social media is shaping our lives in ways we can not yet fully grasp. But rather  than focusing on social media as a whole I would like to go further into Twitter. Twitter has grown tremendously and the amount of available data is overwhelming. Now the most interesting thing to do with data is to organize it in such ways that it will provide us with interesting insights concerning several subjects. These subjects may vary from purpose: from serving the commercial industry to academic purposes. Twitter knows the added value of all this data open to everyone, and we see several projects covering this. For example Twitter Search; this provides us with the possibility to search real time on certain keywords. As they say: ‘See what’s happening — right now’. The ‘right now’ in this context, the current and timely nature, is exactly what triggers us.
Therefore Twitter has been used in several data visualization projects. Data visualization provides us with the tools to create a comprehensible stream of information out of a unstructured pile of data.

 “Twitter is an obvious data source for lots of text information. It’s actually proven to be a great playground for testing out data visualization ideas.”

Jeff Clark said this in an article discussing several ‘Twitter driven’ data visualization projects. Data visualization can be very meaningful – providing a schematic overview of information – or artistic to the eye at first glance like the one displayed below.
Data visualization
To get a glimpse into the ‘data visualization world’ you can see here, here and here some examples. But the most intruiging project conserning Twitter ‘real time’ data visualization is the Twitter Mood Light. This person named RandomMatrix developed a LED lamp connected to the Twitter data stream, according to the general mood on Twitter the lamp will change colour. Red for Anger, Yellow for Happy, Pink for Love, White for Fear, Green for Envy, Orange for Surprise, and Blue for Sadness. As he describes it:

“…A way to get a glimpse of the collective human consciousness as an extension of my own.  Something that I don’t have to continually check or poll, but instead, like a part of my body, it will tell me when it’s feeling pain or generally in need of my attention …leaving me time to get on with other things. And so, I present: The World Mood in a Box!”

On the website instructables.com he explains how one can build such a Mood Lamp. Anyone up for the challenge? I’m willing to pay for it!

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