Originally posted on TED Blog:
Your email inbox almost always looks the same. The content may change, but it’s still a chronological list — a narrow, time-based organization of correspondence, deeply set in the present. But a team from the MIT Media lab has created a new way for you to see your email, as an intimate and elegant visualization of your life organized around people.
Tracing the to, from, cc, and timestamp information on every email you’ve ever sent, a new tool called Immersion crafts a complex web of our lives and relationships. The program represents contacts as circles, and the sizes of the circles vary according to how many emails you’ve exchanged with each person. It charts your interactions with friends, family and coworkers for as far back as you’ve had your email address, and it automatically groups your contacts into social circles based on who is included on a thread. You can adjust the number of people who display in your visualization to hone in on your best friends, or to zoom out and see everyone you’ve ever emailed. Curious who you emailed the most in September 2010? You can adjust the time frame to focus in on a specific week. Immersion can even trace a specific relationship, from the first email sent, to the most recent exchange.