Visualizing My Gmail Contacts

Posted on August 20th 2013

Visualizing My Gmail Contacts
 
Five years of email displayed in colored dots.

Five years of email displayed in colored dots

Dark green dots represent my family. Blue and red are local friends and contacts. Orange is from a large client project. Purple dots are people I email sporadically and who aren’t connected to anyone else. The colors go on.

Together, these dots comprise 1,041 people in 40,363 email messages I’ve sent or received since August 1, 2008.

That’s the date I created my current email account.

Engineers at the MIT Media Lab have created a tool called Immersion that enables anyone with a Gmail or Microsoft Exchange account to scan timestamps of messages, though not actual content, and display the interconnections and frequencies of people who are in the “to,” “cc”, or “from” fields.

This visualization is for August 1, 2008 - August 17, 2013.

This visualization is for August 1, 2008 – August 17, 2013.

Do you see the three small orange dots in the bottom right of the above image?

They are captioned with the names Danny, Kristi, and John. If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you know those names to be this Danny, this Kristi, and this John. Because I used to email them together and/or they replied to all, that’s why they’re seen in a triumvirate shape with lines drawn between the dots.

Same concept with other sets of circles and lines.

This visualization is for August 17, 2012 - August 17, 2013.

This visualization is for August 17, 2012 – August 17, 2013.

It’s amazing how you can show maps based on different time periods, such as the five-year history with my Gmail address or going back one year. If I want, I can show a given week.

There is a manual slider at the bottom of the screen that lets you move back and forth between timelines. As you move the slider, the dots change color and size as your emailing habits change.

You can create your own visual maps here.

 
ariherzog

Ari Herzog

Ari Herzog is a storyteller, speaker, and media consultant. Since 2009 he has helped organizations of all sizes create and integrate social media strategies to connect with their audiences. Ari holds a Master in Public Administration, is an elected city councilor in Newburyport, Massachusetts, and is campaigning in 2014 to be elected as State Representative. Learn more about Ari on his campaign site and media blog.

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