Chatterprint

Sponsor Week Demo Images

These sketches were presented as part of the Media Lab's fall sponsor week, 2006.

The basic component of a Chatterprint is the spiral. This figure shows how a spiral can be created from a histogram of activity. In this case, I'll assume it represents the history of IM conversations between two people, but it could represent lots of different media: online forums, email, social networking pages, blogs, etc. The width of the spiral at any given point represents the amount of conversation at that point in time. The spiral grows out from the middle, so the oldest data is in the core of the spiral, while the newest is on the outer edge. I'm also using color to represent age - the older the information, the lighter it appears.

Using this spiral as a base, different communication patterns are visible. From left to right (assuming these were visualizations about my communication), the spirals in this figure represent someone with whom I talk a lot, and have talked with a lot for a long time; someone I have known for a little while and talk to regularly but not for very long; someone I've known for a long time and talked to frequently a while ago, but we haven't talked in some time; someone I met recently who I talk to sporadically.

To create the Chatterprint visualization, I aggregate a number of the spirals (each representing someone I talk with on IM) and arrange them based on how similar the content of the conversations is between each person; the three spirals in the upper left are close together because those three people talk to me about similar topics.

This is the final Chatterprint. In this figure, I use a text-as-texture technique to provide visual depth as well as more information about the nature of the conversations. Words that are frequently used in conversation appear near spirals representing the people using those words. In this way, you can get a feeling for the nature of the conversations that a spiral is representing by looking at the words nearby.

I hope that people will want to embed Chatterprints in online situations to provide information about their identity. This figure shows what a zoomed out thumbnail of a Chatterprint might look like, an appropriate size for embedding on a MySpace page or forum signature.