Weathermob is a free iPhone
app that wasreleased in 2011. It is designed to let peopletalk about the weather (in 100 charactersor less) and share their mood, comments,photos, and video.It has been dubbed a “social weather” app.
Weathermob was created by a
London/Boston-based start-up* with experience in: • television media • technology • social media • branding* Founded and created by former Channel 4 (UK) executive Julia LeStage, media magnate, tech investor and Chairman of ASOS.com, Lord Waheed Alli, experienced CTO Ben Griffiths, social media specialist Frank Lampen, veteran tech investor Tori Hackett and brand guru Adge Gittins.
What is going on here?
Why has thisseemingly non-utilitarian and redundantapp become so globally popular so quickly?Within a few weeks of launch, Weathermob has seen reports from theUS, UK, Brazil, India, Japan, Australia, UAE, Mexico…and even from theHimalayas, with a picture report posted from Nepal.Instagram + Twitter + weather = Weathermob
Weathermob PrototypeTo simulate the story-creation
aspect of To simulate the social dimension of Weathermob,Weathermob, I created a paper prototype with I asked folks in the studio to draw an emoticon ofsimple sliding panels for the weather, emoticon, their current mood over a 3-day period. The quickand icons. drawings are very evocative and surprisingly diverse.
Weathermob’s combinations of brief text,emoticons,
iconography and photos or videocreate short but complete stories that areas easy to share as they are to create.Participants are emotionally engaged andare drawn to express themselves and browseone others’ stories.
Are some people are really
only happywhen it rains? Is a city’s cheerfulnessdirectly proportional to how many sunnydays it gets a year?
Now we can know. Weathermob
ispublishing daily mood rankings of majorUS and UK cities via the app and Twitter. San Francisco is consistently “Cheerful.”
Central to Weathermob are emotions.Being
aware of them, expressing them,sharing them, connecting them to ourenvironment, and checking in to see howothers are feeling.“Social weather” is within as well aswithout.
Weathermob sits in the broader
context ofaffective computing.(Affective communication is communicatingwith someone, or something, either with orabout emotion.)
Computer Mediated Human-to-Human Emotional Expression“A
few months back, Facebook introduced “Most social networks allow for ‘likes’ [...] “Xin Li’s technology stores the neutralthe new “Like” button [...] Since its launch, but most don’t support a range of posi- face—and the face-warping software—nearly two million websites have added tive and negative emotions. We antici- on the recipient’s phone. When a mes-the small icon with a picture of a ‘thumbs pate users will respond positively to new senger keys in text symbols—such as :)up’ to their webpages.” addition, as the ability to quickly react to for a smile—the neutral face assumes thehttp://mucollegeofcomm.wordpress. moments shared by friends and visually appropriate (well, sort of) expression.”com/2010/12/14/like-it-or-not-facebooks- assess how others are reacting are nice http://www.technologyreview.com/communica-%E2%80%9Clike%E2%80%9D-button-causes-users- conveniences.” tions/18641/to-question-online-privacy/ http://mashable.com/2011/01/18/path-emotions/
Computer-to-Human Emotional Expression “Controversy rages
over anthropomorphism: Should we leverage this expertise in the service of computer interface design, since attributing human characteristics to machines often means setting unrealistic and unfulfillable expectations about the machine’s capabilities? Show a human face, expect human capabilities that far out- strip the machine?” http://affect.media.mit.edu/areas.php?id=communication
Emotional Expression as Mass Data
“We Feel Fine is an exploration of human emotion. It continually harvests sentences containing the phrase ‘I feel’ or ‘I am feeling’ from the Internet’s newly posted blog entries, saves them in a database, and displays them in an interactive Java applet, which runs in a web browser [...] We Feel Fine collects around 15,000 new feelings per day, and has saved over 13 million feelings since 2005, forming a constantly evolving portrait of human emotion.” http://www.number27.org/wefeelfine.html