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Collective Emotions Live Data Visualization Concept Development

Updated: Jan 21, 2019

I actually had two ideas, but one of them I still have not acquired the skill sets to make it happen yet, so I chose to focus on the other one. The one I put aside is something that helps people understand how they truly feel instead of just feeling the surface emotions as I have realized that people do not really know themselves as much as they think.

The idea I am going to focus on is data visualization of live collective emotions, might be just on the ITP floor, or the world, depending on which data is easier to collect.

I am thinking about collecting the emotion data by extracting the key emotional words from Instagram stories, which most people in our age use, or twitter. I am not sure if extracting keywords from Instagram stories is possible. If not, I am thinking about using the API from my inspiration project We Feel Fine by Jonathon Harris and Sep Kamvar, which contains the emotion data extracted from blogs which contains the phrase "I feel" or "I am feeling" from people all over the world in all genders and ages.

Each color represents one category of emotions. I am planning on making the bubbles of the same color gather and form the word of that emotion when the mouse hovers on the bubbles. I have not decided what I should do with the dots when the mouse pressed them though. I also have not decided whether I should use different shapes for different emotions or that would just make it messier and not intuitive.

My purpose behind this is to help people see the beauty of every day's ups and downs and help them "accept" their feelings to not become the feelings themselves but can let them come and go, and make peace with their emotions. I also want to help people feel better by showing that they aren't the only ones feeling a certain way. Finally, I want to increase and provoke empathy in people, so that we are all kinder to each other. After all, we are all in common, we could feel that certain way some day.


I noticed how I am extremely passionate about the unconscious motivations and actual reasons behind human interactions, emotions and feelings. I thought since I spend most of my time observing and contemplating on that matter, it would be awesome if I could direct that passion towards my project and help raise the awareness of self-understanding. After talking to Ashley about what I want to do but still did not have a concrete idea. She introduced this project called We Feel Fine by Jonathon Harris and Sep Kamvar to me, which is my main source of inspiration. Jonathon Harris and Sep Kamvar often address on emotions and feelings and display them with simple but playful way through data visualization.

We Feel Fine is actually a website that display the data visualization of emotions and feelings by extracting the sentence with "I feel" or "I am feeling" in it from blogs. As blogs often have public profile, so the data includes people from different countries, cities in the world in various ages and genders, it even includes the weather of the location when the blog was posted. This data is collected over 3 years, with 15, 000 to 20, 000 feelings per day so it is like an almanac of human emotions. It would be very helpful to use its large data base to do the data visualization.

They also did another data visualization on online dating apps, called I Want You To Want Me.

I Want You To Want Me explores the search for love and self in the world of online dating. It chronicles the world's long-term relationship with romance, across all ages, genders, and sexualities, using real data collected from Internet dating sites every few hours.

For this one, the visualization is even more playful. I would like to think more about how to visualize my target data and have it resonate in people.

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