RadioMilwaukee’s Diggin’ with the Architect


Just digging around on the internet

Site of the Day: We Feel Fine

We Feel Fine

I just want to know out there: how does everyone feel? Wait don’t answer at once. I will just go to our site of the day and get the answer. does just that (in a way). We Feel Fine is an exploration of human emotion on a global scale.

From their website:

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.

The result is a database of several million human feelings, increasing by 15,000 – 20,000 new feelings per day. Using a series of playful interfaces, the feelings can be searched and sorted across a number of demographic slices, offering responses to specific questions like: do Europeans feel sad more often than Americans? Do women feel fat more often than men? Does rainy weather affect how we feel? What are the most representative feelings of female New Yorkers in their 20s? What do people feel right now in Baghdad? What were people feeling on Valentine’s Day? Which are the happiest cities in the world? The saddest? And so on.

The interface to this data is a self-organizing particle system, where each particle represents a single feeling posted by a single individual. The particles’ properties – color, size, shape, opacity – indicate the nature of the feeling inside, and any particle can be clicked to reveal the full sentence or photograph it contains. The particles careen wildly around the screen until asked to self-organize along any number of axes, expressing various pictures of human emotion. We Feel Fine paints these pictures in six formal movements titled: Madness, Murmurs, Montage, Mobs, Metrics, and Mounds.

At its core, We Feel Fine is an artwork authored by everyone. It will grow and change as we grow and change, reflecting what’s on our blogs, what’s in our hearts, what’s in our minds. We hope it makes the world seem a little smaller, and we hope it helps people see beauty in the everyday ups and downs of life.

The site creators has even open up the tehnology (api) for anyone else to use to create their own expressions of emotions.
Here are some screen shots of the application:
Any particle can be clicked at any time, revealing the sentence and/or photograph inside, along with any information about the sentence’s author. As the particles careen around the screen, they lose speed and eventually freeze as they approach the mouse cursor, allowing them to be captured and clicked. As the particles approach the We Feel Fine heart in the bottom left corner of the screen, they become attracted to the heart and swarm around it, drawing the eye. As the mouse passes over the heart, a menu appears, revealing access to the other five movements of We Feel Fine.

Mobs (Feeling) displays the most common feelings in the sample population. In this movement, the particles self-organize into rows of shared feelings. The rows are sorted by the number of particles they contain, and the particles within each row are sorted by the length of the sentence that each particle contains. The rows are colored to inherit the chosen color of the feeling they represent. Any particle can be clicked to reveal the sentence within.

Montage, the third movement, was created to answer questions like: what does sadness look like? Happiness? Loneliness?

Montage presents the feelings from a given population that contain photographs, and displays these photographs in a simple grid of variable size, depending on the number of photographs available. Any photograph in the grid can be clicked, causing it to zoom in to the size of the screen.

Why don’t y’all give it a shot and let me know what you think feel.


Filed under: culture, Site of the Day

One Response

  1. Sup Tarik,

    Sometimes i’ll cruise through Milwaukee and, “Hot damn” if 88.9 is not the freshest thing on the radio i have heard in a while.

    i recently returned from teaching English abroad in Argentina and have been spending time in the midwest.

    i just wanted to drop you and the 889 crew a line, and thought you might like to check out the Bruce Lee Developer Conference post on my favorite blog…

    -Americo de Thunk Different

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