Collecting Communication: Communicating Collection

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  • This publication was the product of my final year project for my Bachelor's degree at the American University of Beirut in 2009. It was preceded by a thesis paper about the significance of contemporary collecting.
    The nature of storing information and mementos has changed drastically with the advent of quasi unlimited virtual space. This book deals with the overwhelming accumulation of correspondences in a digital age. Its goal is to make sense of my huge collection of letters, text messages, Facebook messages, emails, and chats by organizing them and finding new ways of visually representing the data at hand. This led to surprising relations between people in my life, the way I communicate with them and and how I archive this communication. 
  • Screenshot from the Gmail website in 2009.
  • "My Complete Collection: Number of archived correspondances by medium"
    This graph expresses the overwhelming abundance of my complete collection of communication. Each icon represents one correspondence. The visualization continues on the next page.
  • A close-up of my old Nokia Messages icon.
  • "When My Inbox is Full and My Room is a Mess: Number of correspondances filtered due to space restrictions"
    Back in the day when our mobile phones could only store a very limited amount of messages, there was a lot of time spent decinding what to delete and what to keep. This is what I call "filtering": a conscious and calculated choice about what I want to remember and what I want to forget. It can be a physical process of trashing a letter or pressing a button to delete an SMS. It is also about what is "worth" being kept and what is less significant. 
  • "My Emotional Attachment to Words: Number of occurences of abbreviated words, emoticons, & expressions of laughter in a sample of 100 text messages"
    These circles are formed of actual photos of my old phones' screens and of my collection of hand-written messages. The goal of this chart was to explore if the presence of abbreviated words, emoticons, and "lol"s in a text message made me cherish the it less.
  • Screenshot from the Facebook website in 2009.
  • "When Everyone Started to Know My Business: Accessibility to wall posts sent by me and to me in a sample of 3 friends"
    This section of the book explores accessibilty, privacy, and control of communication - basically, who can see what. This changes drastically with the use of Facebook and specifically the timeline (previously know as Wall).
  • A snapshot of when I became friends with my mom on Facebook.
  • Exerpt from the visualization "When My Mom Got a Facebook Account: occurence of curse words in facebook wall posts before & after accepting a friend request.
  • Exerpt from "Flirting On Facebook: top 3 most repeated words in Facebook wall posts and Facebook messages sent by one person"
    This shows how vocabulary and choice of words vary depending on the nature of the medium used.
  • Click here to see (almost) the full PDF.