Sunday, August 22, 2004

Analyzing one's (digital) personality through one's posts

I was reading Larry Wall's State of the Onion talk from this year's Open Source Convention and The Perl Conference when I caught an interesting idea:
The most telling example of that is when Deja first put up all the old Usenet news articles for browsing. My good friend Randal Schwartz went in and discovered that of the hundreds of articles I'd posted over the years, only one article was not a follow-up to some else's article. I don't initiate.
This is an interesting idea. We can go beyond Usenet news to mailng lists. There are many mail-archiving sites, such as, that we can use to search and analyze one's digital personality. Maybe we can count the number of emails one initiates, the style that s/he quotes (eg. more quotation that the followup), oneliners, smileys, and what else(?).

Analyzing the hierarchy of posts / emails may be not too difficult, but understanding the "tones" of the emails is perhaps more difficult. Maybe we can count the number of smileys, punctuation marks!? Understanding the content is perhaps the most difficult thing. Has somebody done research in this area?

PS: Larry Wall is one of my favourite heroes. He's so funny. (I've never met him, but read a lot of his posts.) And I kind of sense this (funny spirit) in the product (perl), just like I sense Steve Job's spirit in Apple products. That's why I love perl so much. And, if you've listened to my presentations, I tried and try to do the same thing.


Randal L. Schwartz said...

Wow. Now that sucks. Here I was, mentioned at the Onion speech, and I had to be handling issues offsite that night in preparation for the next day's activities. Oh well.

budi said...

(Merlyn, how did you find out about this post of my blogger? You know, I've been off from perl community for quite a while. Last time, you were deep in .... with that legal stuff.)

Do you have nifty perl scripts (or even oneliners) to analyze emails?

Anonymous said...

Well..., analyze this:

H@v3 pHun !

Amal said...

As soon as you talk about digital analyze, Schwartz detects it as beep-oh-beep through his Perl-based monitoring script. :)