Moodjammin' on the Web

CMU student devises software to translate moods into bands of colors. Now it's the super-hip way to make your blog truly personal.

The Internet has just taken another small step into being able to peer into one's soul. Ph.D students at Carnegie Mellon have developed a software application that can show user's emotions in words and in bands of color, reports Campus Technology.

Moodjam is software that is a networked diary of emotion that runs on the user's homepage.

Ian Li, a Ph.D. student in the School of Computer Science's Human-Computer Interaction Institute, initiated the project as a visual diary for self-reflection. Now more than 2,000 people use MoodJam, sharing their emotional states with friends and family members.

"The sharing aspect does make it more attractive," said Li, who launched the MoodJam website last November, along with HCII research associate Aubrey Shick and fellow Ph.D. students Karen Tang and Scott Davidoff. "To get insights into your own moods, you have to record for at least a week. But the social benefits from sharing are immediate."

MoodJam works by the users choosing colors and words that represent their emotional states such as "caffeinated," "just kinda eh," and "fantabulously magical."

"A friend in Seattle just IMed me. 'Ha, ha--your mood is hilarious today,'" said Shick, who "moodjams" with friends across the country. It's also proved useful to her mother, who lives near Somerset, PA. "She likes that she can see how I'm doing without bothering me," Shick said.

Anind Day, one of Li's faculty advisors, said the software poses interesting questions about how mood-sharing affects the behavior of work groups.

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