M o t i v a t i o n  
(why history?)

Much of our experience of the world has to do with the passage of time and the changes that occur as time goes by. We get older, we accumulate things, the objects we use start showing marks of wear and tear. In the virtual world, however, things always look brand new and there is hardly any sense of accumulation. Computer artifacts, unlike everything else in our lives, seem timeless. 

W h y   e m a i l ?

Most of us deal with email on an everyday basis and some of us have been doing so for several years. Nevertheless, it is hard to perceive the accumulation of this frantic activity, it is hard to get a sense of the number of messages sent and received, not to mention how difficult it is keeping track of how many people have written to you or received messages from you. In short, it is hard to get a sense of mere scale and patterns.

And because this frantic email activity in which we engage everyday has become such an important part of our lives  - we keep in touch with loved ones via email, we get work done via email, we make decisions over email - it seems natural that we should have richer interfaces to deal with our messages; interfaces that reveal more to us than just the single messages we deal with on any given day. 


G o a l 

The aim is to provide users with a novel and hopefully richer experience of their email activities. By allowing users to step back from their everyday dealings with the incessant flow of individual messages, by giving them some distance from the reading, replying, deleting, forwarding chores, PostHistory represents an opportunity for reflection and insightful monitoring of fundamental patterns of interactivity. The visualization aims at impressing on the user a sense of daily accumulation, of growth and scale dimensions not normally conveyed on current email applications. 

The goal is to create visualizations that allow us to look back at our actions in the digital world in order to grasp the scale, intensity and forms that our interactions take in this medium

   

motivation and goal

how is it done?
why social networks?
visualizations

FERNANDA VIEGAS

SOCIABLE MEDIA GROUP

MIT MEDIA LABORATORY

COPYRIGHT 2002 MIT Media Lab