If you already thought your tweets were some of the most important literature being crafted during this modern age, just wait until the Olympics when your every thought will have the power to turn a town’s Ferris wheel yellow, purple, or green.
The Telegraph reports that EDF Energy, the official energy supplier of the 2012 games has commissioned a company to engineer what they are calling “the world’s first social media driven light show,” proving that something can still sound underwhelming even if it is the world’s first.
The project will transform the London Eye into what Slate describes as “an Olympic-sized mood ring,” though, unlike a mood ring, the eye won’t just stay sort of blue all the time. Hopefully.
Every evening, a twenty-four-minute light show will be projected onto the Eye. The colors of the lights will represent Britain’s “social emotions” throughout the twenty-four hours of the day. An algorithm will quantify the number of British users’ tweets that were positive (yellow), negative (purple), or neutral (green) every hour and color the wheel accordingly. If the tweets are 75% positive, Slate explains, the Eye will light up 75% yellow, like a pie chart.
Or anyway, that’s what it’s supposed to do. The actual videos posted daily on the EDF “Energy of the Nation” website look a bit more frenetic and colorful than that explanation implies. (Like, there’s a whole lot of red up on that Eye, considering the project description makes no mention of red.)
Tweets are analyzed using an algorithm called “Sentistrength,” developed by MIT engineers, that checks them against a database of 2,750 words and phrases, each of which has been assigned a positive or negative numeric value.
Phrases like “OMG” “brilliant” and, totes amazeballingly, “totes amazeballs” will increase a tweet’s overall score, resulting in more yellow lights. A word like “failure” will subtract from the score, adding purple. Punctuation and emoticons can either boost (!!!) or reduce (?!?!) the final value. Intensifiers like “very” will also modify it.
The shows take place at 9 p.m. London time and are live-streamed (and available for later watching) here.
They’ll continue every night through the end of the Games, so everyone in Britain should tweet only sad things because purple is the prettiest color.