Computing Magazine

What A Conversation Looks Like

Posted on the 22 March 2013 by Expectlabs @ExpectLabs


How can we visualize a conversation? Francis Lam is a new media artist from MIT who created the above visualization to represent the kinds of shapes our exchanges can take. According to Lam’s professor at MIT, Judith Donath, the image has “a subtly prescriptive air…one wants to make the tower of messages well-balanced,” which raises an interesting idea of how power dynamics can move conversations along.

Here is more information on how to interpret the visual:

  1. Size of the block corresponds to the length of the message.
  2. Color indicates speaker.
  3. Blocks drop downward in the order of posting (think Tetris).
  4. If a block skews left, the message is positive. If the block tips to the right, the message is negative.
  5. Dot signifies one speaker cc’ing another.

(via Fast Company)

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