Tuesday, November 20, 2007

word charts/automatic diary

I've always wanted to have the diligence and lack of self-consciousness that would allow me to keep a diary (or a personal blog, for that matter). I would love to be able to reflect back on my days from last month, a year ago or 15 years ago. However much I've tried since childhood to keep a daily diary, I've never succeeded because I've always felt so self-conscious writing down my thoughts. That feeling plus a little bit of inherent laziness made it so that all of my attempts lasted no longer than 30 minutes for every five years.

I propose to develop a system that keeps a kind of unconscious diary, by capturing everything I type while on my computer (where I spend a large part of my day thinking and communicating), and performing a word analysis at the end of every day. From the analysis, I want to compile a top 10 daily word list, to keep record of the most frequent words used, and then a top 100 daily word list, to hopefully glean what kinds of general feelings or issues I had been dealing with throughout the day. Last.fm inspired me with their running charts, to go a bit further and also keep weekly and overall running word charts, to track how I progressed from certain discussions, events, and perhaps life phases over time.

The data will be written to text files and perhaps uploaded to a blog for keeping public record; this last detail I'm still working out. How much of myself I want to expose to everybody is still up for questioning. Also, whether or not I want to parse out groups of characters, such that would describe passwords and other private and irrelevant data is another consideration on my mind.

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