Wednesday, March 19, 2008

We Feel Fine

It's a slow news day here at Uncertain Times, so I've just spent the last couple of hours playing around with We Feel Fine.

Check this:

Since August 2005, We Feel Fine has been harvesting human feelings from a large number of weblogs. Every few minutes, the system searches the world's newly posted blog entries for occurrences of the phrases "I feel" and "I am feeling". When it finds such a phrase, it records the full sentence, up to the period, and identifies the "feeling" expressed in that sentence (e.g. sad, happy, depressed, etc.). Because blogs are structured in largely standard ways, the age, gender, and geographical location of the author can often be extracted and saved along with the sentence, as can the local weather conditions at the time the sentence was written. All of this information is saved.

WFF uses six different visualizations or "movements" to realize the endless flow of sentences. The "Madness" visualization is most remarkable. This type of user interface could be developed in a number of imaginable ways, perhaps for locating goods or services, finding people of like mind or one's target audience. More exploitive applications could be imagined, as well.

I can see a sort of real-time swarming, social-networking platform arising from this. Imagine being able to send your messages, posts, profile or any other information into color-coded areas where it could immediately be accessed. On the receiving end, readers, listeners or viewers could find material by migrating to desired hot-spots, or to other areas of interest that they might not have found otherwise. This interface could also change the way we use search engines, look for work or share files.

I enjoyed reading the sentences, too. Some good ones in there. Sadly, not a lot of complete or well-crafted ones. It seems that most people can't write worth a shit these days. These are bloggers, mind you.

It might be old-hat for some of you, (I see that there are are 8 or 9 posts on WFF in the last couple of years.) but this is one of the more impressive things I've seen in a while. And not just because it's cute, but for what might emerge later.

via Flowing Data

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