emotify: Make your content emotionally available

Emotify locked itself in the bathroom and refused to come out. The site’s down. So long dear Emotify.

Emotions.  Everyone’s got’em.  In fact, according to my therapist, even I have them.  In this confessional age of social networking sites that I’d rather not mention, blogs, and reality shows, emotions are the currency of our time.  Call it Oprah-i-fication – or Jersey Shore-i-fication? – of our culture.  And while these mediums bombard us with people’s emotions, it’s also bombarding us with content – the blogs, videos, and photos – that deliver someone’s emotions to our screen.  This is why I think emotify is so nifty.  Tired of sifting through content by date, user, or topic?  Well, now you can organize it by emotion.

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Emotify is a service that allows users to submit and vote on content (videos, photos, blog entries, articles) by emotion, helping create an emotional snapshot of the Web. Additionally, Emotify serves as a platform for non-techies to easily create fun and engaging media packages called EmotiPacks – various types of media you’ve “emotionally” tagged.

So I dove in, chock full o’ emotions (is existential angst and emotion?), ready to rumble.  I clicked on the “Get Started” button at the bottom, and was immediately implored to register, which I did. I selected my mood (“Inspiring,” naturally; other choices were Funny, Shocking, Sad, Amazing, Upsetting, Frightening), and began creating my own EmotiPack. I chose an EmotifyPack theme (“Inspiring,” naturally) and was taken to the content portion, where, picking from Videos, Photos, Articles, and Blogs, I could tag each piece of content with the emotion I thought it best represented.

Now when a piece of content gets added, other members can vote on how it made them feel, and  after the vote as made, the content automatically gets stored into my profile. And once a user, such as myself, submits or votes on at least 3 pieces of content, they can officially create an EmotiPack, which can be uniquely titled.  So, you can create and title one called “The NFC Championship,” with video, blogs, and photos from that game (why didn’t Farve just run it?)

Then the other users have their say.  Viewers are asked whether the EmotiPack fulfilled the emotion intended for or not. The votes are tallied up and rank the pack on Emotify accordingly.  The free market in action!  The votes are also sent to the user’s profile, the blue bar indicates that it fulfilled the emotion it was meant to and orange votes did not (see below.) This is a cool because it essentially gauges the emotional zeitgeist of the emotify community. It can also double as a free psychotherapy session; if you’re the only one tagging that photo of a python slowly swallowing a koala “Funny,” some introspection or a call to the counselor may be in order.

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Having gone through the basics, I must say, this was one of the most user-friendly sites I’ve gone through in a while. It was with me every step of the way, with pop-up windows and instructional guidance.  Only an utter fool would get lost in emotify!  Now for some random observations:

  • The instant I clicked on the site, I was quite intrigued, but mildly baffled.  The “emotion-charged packets” certainly piqued my interest, but a tad bit more context on what they are, if possible, could help.
  • The “Learn More” page was certainly illuminating, namely the video.  But again, perhaps some copy upfront to give me a teaser before I view the video.
  • Kinda splitting hairs here, but as a former (ahem) English major, “frightening” isn’t an emotion per se, as much as an adjective.   Therefore, describing my emotion as “Frightening,” isn’t technically as accurate as “Frightened.” That said, a video can clearly be “Frightening,” but that in and of itself isn’t purely an emotion. Now I feel like someone’s gonna beat me up.

What I like about emotify is its ability to take a static thing – a piece of content – and transpose it into a communicative mechanism – expressing emotions through content.  It’s a new and interesting way to organize the voluminous content washing up on our e-shores, but more than that, I’m also intrigued by the site’s ability to serve as a barometer of culture and society.  What do people consider “frightening?”  What do they consider “amazing?”  And why?  Taken as a whole, are people vibing well based on their EmotiPacks?  (That sentence sounds so sci-fi.)  Or is there a Carter-like malaise going around?  What if they had EmotiPacks in the Great Depression?  Roaring 20s?  Again, the Zeitgeist stuff.  And on an individual level, I suspect avid users will uncover a lot of common ground – and meet cool, like-minded people in the process – but also may be perplexed by such emotional disagreements, which can only trigger further fun and exploration.  In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if users jerk back in their chairs in gleeful exasperation, exclaiming, “Emotify, to quote Mariah, you got me feeling emotions.