While the concept of social media itself isn’t something new, widespread proliferation through the digital domain has seen a stark increase in its popularity in recent years. Amongst users who are most often engaged in its use, it has given rise to some unique form of human behaviors, some of which have not been previously seen between users interacting with one another in the real world. One of the more prominent behaviors involves the tendency for users to externalize their life.
Many often use these social mediums as a means to exhibit the extremities in their life, incidentally creating this false sense of their actual life. While it might not necessarily be intentional, many instances seem to suggest a constant need for users to attract the attention of the public. It seems to create this paradox that many while trying to be less lonely through the use of social media often find themselves isolated from one another seemingly as if they are all residing on a collection of disjointed islands.
I was interested to explore ways at which I can manifest the emotions of these individuals through a physical object without them having to constantly interact with something virtual. It is with the thought that the need to constantly interact with a physical object may provide some sort of instantaneous emotional relief as oppose to posting a virtual update.
From the onset, we were interested in physically manifesting the emotional well being of individuals through the use of their social networking sites. In an attempt to raise the awareness of this issue, we have created a product through the use of reflective design to recreate an experience where it allows users and designers alike to reflect-in-action upon usage such that it compels them to think critically about technology and its relationships with humans.
n particular, our prototype focuses on Twitter. By having a physical object which users are familiar with, it is with the thought that it would encourage them to interact more frequently with it. Target user’s twitter feed is first analyzed to determine their emotional well-being. Subsequent alerts that are detected through twitter live feed will subsequently be conveyed through the cube. We separate the types of emotions that can be detected into 6 major categories, joy, surprise, fear, love, anger and sad.
Once the emotion count of a certain type of emotion has been accumulated, it would invoke a reaction by lighting the side of the cube that represents that same emotion. The intention is then to have the user who is monitoring his or her friend to touch the lighted surface to deactivate it. A relevant response message will then be sent upon deactivation. In the event that the cube is left untouched, the lighted surface will blink progressively faster as the emotion count accumulates further to indicate the intensity of that particular type of emotions.