4.7 years of my email activity (click for larger image)

Daniel Smilkov and┬áDeepak Jagdish of MIT’s Media Lab made a data visualization tool to show you your Gmail activity. The larger the dot, the more emails you’ve exchanged with that person. It also shows links between people.

The large blue dot is Wendy. She and I are building up a startup.

Daniel and Deepak point out that the data social map isn’t the same as your real-world social map. Helen is far away the most important person in my life, but we communicate mostly by text message, phone, and in-person, so she doesn’t show up as the largest dot. Several other people show up either too much in the graph (because they live far away and we communicate by email) or too small in the graph (because we communicate by other means or in-person.)

This points out a significant limit of data visualization tools: they show only what they track.

To create your map (only if you’re using Gmail), go to immersion.media.mit.edu