Business - Written by Gautam Lamba on Tuesday, November 3, 2009 13:05 - 14 Comments
Color coding the Internet
For all the different ways to communicate that the internet offers – blogs, wikis, tweets, status updates etc – it still lacks a rather basic functionality, the ability to convey emotion. In everyday, real life interactions, we unconsciously pick up on non-verbal cues (body language, gestures) and particularities of tone, inflection and stressed words to round out our interpretation of a message.
On the internet, however, these common tools are either unavailable or extremely hard to convey. For example, consider these variations of 1 sentence:
“Ever seen a polar bear?” vs. “Ever seen a polar bear?”
On its own, it seems to be a plain, if odd, query. Italicized and bold font clarifies the stress placed on a particular word and gives the message a depth of meaning not previously available. Similarly, happiness or sadness is conveyed via ‘emoticons’ or a side-ways smiley face [e.g. , , :O etc]. Inflection and tone can be conveyed by specifying the tone in brackets or maybe typing in capitals.
As you can imagine, such additions take time, effort and are as a result, often left out. Also, given that status updates on Facebook or Twitter are not something people generally want to be very verbose, these little additions are generally omitted or assumed to be apparent.
In my view, there is a fairly simple way to get around both, the ambiguity and the effort needed to enrich online communication.
My answer: Colour Code the commentary.
This is based on the assumption that certain colours are universally associated with certain moods, tones and emotions – red is anger/stop, white is peace, green is go. Essentially – a simple algorithm that would automatically change the background or a strip on the side of a comment as certain phrases are used.
I am extremely upset
I am p****ed off!
According to me the following benefits flow from such functionality:
- Readers get a richer picture at a glance
- Greater probability that readers correctly interpret the message
- Speed of communication increases since readers don’t necessarily need to read every word
- It would be invaluable for those who are looking to gauge the response to a product launch article
- It would reduce, possibly eliminating, the ‘noise’ in comments sections. This noise arises from people having to clarify their intended message as people try to decide whether you are being sarcastic, funny or facetious.
- It would be like emotion mining – in real time, upfront and open.
To kick off the discussion (and possibly such a development…are you listening wordpress?);
below are some color systems in existence today (notice they follow fairly similar lines)
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