Do You Dread Email? There’s an App for That

July 19, 2012 | By | Comments (3)

What if your cell phone could give you a heads-up, to let you know whether an email you are about to read is positive, negative or neutral?

In Britain, scientists at the University of Portsmouth have developed an application that will do exactly that. After scanning the text of incoming mail, the app displays each message onscreen against a colored background — green for positive, red for negative and blue for neutral.

As the Los Angeles Times reported recently: “The scientists call it ‘sentiment analysis’ and it is essentially an algorithm designed to determine whether a mobile communication will make you happy — ‘Hey, we can have dinner tonight!’ — or bummed — ‘I am so angry at you!’ — or indifferent — ‘I need you to pick up the kids at 5.’ ”

It’s a great idea. Many people — me included– feel stress levels rise every time email arrives. Part of the reason is that it’s harder to communicate nuance and tone in written communication you’ve dashed off via thumb typing; a message you mean to sound brief and efficient, for instance, may read as brusque or angry to a recipient. With an app that determines if incoming language is negative or positive, a recipient could have some warning.

“So far, the technology has been tested only on a few Android phones, and the researchers have not announced plans to market the app,” the Times reported.

Too bad — I’d download it in a minute.

(image via Los Angeles Times)

Do you dread email? Do you consciously try to edit out negative language when you compose it? Any tips to share?