I was so fascinated by the language topic in the class, that for the final I decided to keep working on the textual analysis.
I have noticed that while organizing an event (or any other big project) and with the deadline approaching, I become very pragmatic. While to me it might seem as an awesome time (less talking, shorter emails, more doing), it might not be that fun for people who have to work with me. It is obvious that emails and conversations become much shorter, but I was also wondering if I could see if the language that I’m using changes, too. And if yes, and if I don’t like some of the words, could I trigger my unconsciousness to change it for the better? My idea for the project consisted of 4 steps:
- Analyzing my Gmail accounts (the one I’m using most frequently) and the most used words in general and over all time
- Analyzing my Gmail accounts 1 month before key projects I was working on and seeing if there are any patterns
- Identifying key “dangerous” words that might signal that it’s “a pragmatic time” or that I might be becoming rude and should be more conscious of how I speak
- Building a Google Chrome extension that would alert me each time specific word is being used (a tricky part)
I began looking at one of my most frequently used Gmail account. Over the past 9 years that I’ve been using it, I have sent 16,286 emails. The words I used look like this:
For a deeper analysis I chose 5 of the most recent projects I’ve been working on. The number of sent emails per each project looks like this:
I have sent 3389 emails during those 5 months, which makes 20% of emails sent from my most frequently used Gmail account. It’s kind of shocking. The average number of sent emails during this busy period is 677 a month, and I had the busiest month while working on Forum One 2013 — 1136 sent emails.
I could distinguish these key patterns of words that I use:
- content words, related to the project I’m working on: e.g. talk, presentation, video, speakers, soundcheck, stage, and so on.
- speaker names: this happens when you curate the content
- small / function words: these will also be dangerous words
- usual words in email communication: e.g. hi, dear, thanks, regards, etc.
Here you can see every project in more detail, for the sake of time I’ll jump right into extensions (more detailed post to follow after the class).
While looking at the words I used I noticed that the top 4 function words always stay the same, only the order changes: the, and, you, we. I also identified few “dangerous” words that could signal that I’m becoming rude or too pushy. The words are: no, ne (Lithuanian “no”), now, have, please.
As I mentioned above, I was really curious to see if there could be a way to change language I use while sending emails. And especially, when writing the “dangerous” words. Both “word replacer” and “alert” extension seemed pretty useless, because it would get annoying quite fast to turn it off. However, what if I kept the alert on and it kept on popping up every time I typed “no” or “have”, and so on — at the end, would it make me skip using those words all together just to avoid the alert?
This one replaces my “dangerous” words with the opposite or more positive ones.
The second one is essentially the same, only that before replacing a word, it gives me an alert, if I want to keep the word I just typed, or replace it with a different one from the word dictionary in the code.
If I kept working on this idea, both versions should be modified a lot: for example, I cannot really type “now” because the code takes it as “no” and replaces before I even finish the word. Or, if I accept use of a word once, the alert is no longer there.
It’s amazing how much information is actually there and how little we really know. This class was a pretty awesome way to sneak peek at some of those things.