An increasingly large part of online communication is inherently social in nature. This social interaction is limited by the modalities of online communication, which do not convey tone or emotion well. Although some solutions have evolved or have been proposed, they are inherently ambiguous. We present a system, TextTone, for the explicit expression of emotion in online textual communication. TextTone incorporates reader-specific preferences for the visualization of tone and emotion. We describe social interaction and visualization scenarios that TextTone can be meaningfully used for and discuss an initial implementation. Finally, we present the results of a preliminary evaluation of this implementation of TextTone.
When talking about attitudes and feelings, Albert Mehrabian identified the significant components of perception to be:
In social CMC, both tone and body language get filtered out, and no good analogues are provided to the users. This project aims to help better convey tone in online CMC situations, to foster a better sense of communication between the users in a computer mediated communication.
Instead of trying to enforce a standard on everybody, our approach lets everyone pick their own preferred representation, and does the translation between representations transparently in the back-end, so that every user sees the representation that makes the most sense to them.