people clould as visualization of your social attention

I decided to begin to publish more articles on my researchs about the atgentive project [1]. I really began in February to collect, read articles or use web2.0 services to better understand several notions about online community, attention , awareness, activity, social network and the cscw field (computer supported collaborative work). There is  delicious account gathering all my bookmarks concerning the atgentive project [2] .

Here is an experimental stuff I did today.. a tag cloud not about topic but about people. a people cloud representing all the people who email me something during a specific interval of time. The size of each people’s name represents a quantification of the time/effort allocated for this personne (e.g. number of interactions) or a quantification of their solicitation (number of emails they sent to me).

It’s simple but effective: I’m able to clearly see where I put my social attention during these 3 days. But the problem with the current tag cloud concept is that the tags don’t have relationships each other. To fix that, and add clustering/similarity notions , just read this publication of an improved tag could[3]. this quite easiy. see a result. visualization of a improved tag cloud

The authors present this visualization in an information retrieval perspective, but this could represent a picture of our brain: all the concepts you have manipulated (linked by a flexible/time-variable semantic relationship) and the level of attention you gave to them, during an interval of time (e.g. short term attention or long term attention). Once you have quantify this attention’s profil of the user (or for a community or a teamwork) , you can play with it. for instance you can analyze the distribution: what about concentration/dispersion of this distribution: does 10% of the people concentrate 80% of my attention? or do I have a diversified social profil? do I have a biased vision of my social network activity. What about its temporal evolution and the stability of my attention profil according to the time? is my attention is stable for some people and not for some others ? Can we induce general profil categories? Are we able to do that at a collective level a kind of collective attention? According to this profil are we able to a specific attention related probleme and regulate it? (by the way we represent just one dimension , but the profil could be multi-dimensional {interaction level, solication level, global activity level, etc..}) But this attention profil is just a side because the selection of the focus of my attention is an interaction mechanism between:

  • bottom-up information (my the stimuli): all the information that I perceive (this profil could represent that, the solicitations I receive).
  • top-down information (my intention/goal/interest): on what I want to pay attention , what I want to do now, or for the week, what subject/people interest to me generally or particullary for my current tasks)

So if we want built a system with an attention model included, we should know this 2 information to have a ranking model / recommendation system allowing to display/filter temporarily only the right information need for the user’s attention.


[2] the delicious account about agentive
[3] Improving Tag-Clouds as Visual Information Retrieval Interfaces (pdf)
[4] Linking Attention to Learning, Expectation, Competition,and Consciousne(pdf)