Social Reader mood detector

For some time now I’m caught into a research project held by the Curtin University of Technology from Perth, Australia regarding the role that blogs and other online media have in the formation and maintenance of relationships and communities.

I have been randomly selected as part of a small group of bloggers and blog readers and invited to play with a new blog reading software named Social Reader. With this tool you can keep up with the blogs/feeds you read (all just in one spot, rather than hopping all over the web) and the conversations among bloggers.

From time to time the developers add new improvements such as the one that impressed me the most today: a feature that indicates the mood of blog posts and comments, as well as estimates how well different bloggers know each other.

They want the posts depending on the author’s mood to be ranked automatically by colors. For example red is for rather angry, blue for feeling sad, yellow for happy and so on.

Anyway, I’m telling you this because I also had to complete a survey on this topic and the questions were very well put and consistent that it got me thinking in a different way about this project.

Although I find it difficult and not quite exact for the system to automatically classify a post by some words that are supposed to indicate a certain mood, my biggest concern is that colors aren’t enough.

It’s quite difficult for me to think of colors in a certain predetermined way. For me yellow doesn’t mean happiness but boredom or sickness, orange would be more appropriate for this mood; blue is not necessary feeling sad but also being serene, calm, you know, chillin’ …

Sometimes you feel awfully happy or lovely let alone and emotions like these can be mismatched.

So, I made the suggestion that the colors should be on a more wide variety and, if possible, chosen by the post author.

I saw bloggers that add a song of the day at the end of their posts and sometime I do that too.

I think that songs or lyrics describing your mood would be more appropriate. This way you can check out someone else’s song to see what it is about and at the same time you would be aware of what he’s feeling and also what you feel when listening to it.

Oh, there was also a question asking if you would want to know how friends from your social network are feeling and why would you want that or not.

For me it would be nice to know what they are feeling in order to connect and interact in a proper way and not being intrusive. Also, another reason is that I’d like to coordinate my mood with someone else’s, to experiment different feelings or intensities on my own.

Overall this project is quite interesting and addictive for me.

Now, how about you?  What do you think about this mood detector and how would you do it?

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