The topic of Internet privacy, or the lack thereof, is always a popular topic. Add to that the stories of spying that have been all over the news lately, and it almost seems like privacy is really dead. I read somewhere that in the future, everyone will hope for 15 minutes of anonymity instead of 15 minutes of fame. There’s a new tool that puts an interesting spin on all this spy and privacy stuff. It allows you to spy on yourself and create an image of your email life.
I know it sounds kind of strange, and the more I read about it, the stranger it got. It’s like being big brother – but for yourself. It all revolves around analyzing your metadata. In case you don’t know what metadata is, it’s all the information that is generated when you use technology. That can be a long list of things throughout the day.
When it comes to your email life, you have a lot of metadata. This includes things like the sender’s and receiver’s names, email addresses, IP addresses, server information, date, time, time zone, the subject of emails, etc. There’s a lot of metadata there. This new service is part of an MIT project, and it’s called Immersion.
If you want to give it a try, click over to the website. You have to give it the login information for your Gmail account (you can stop it whenever you want). Once you do that, it will create an artistic, self-reflective picture of what your email life looks like based on your metadata. The picture of your network that it creates looks like a map, and it makes you realize that you are connecting with webs of other data on the Internet. It’s a fascinating concept, and one that is hard to explain. You just have to experience it.
One of the creators of Immersion described it like this… “When you see it all together, it is, in a way, an out-of-body experience. You’re seeing all of your network and you’re seeing yourself out of it and you’re seeing it from afar and you’re seeing it in one picture.” If you give it a try, I hope you’ll come back here and let us know what you thought of your email life. I’m sure the creators would love your feedback.