Moodgeist

Skype/hobby project. 2005–2007

Skype, Objective-C, Visual Basic, Python, Django

Brief

Explore using Skype mood messages as a vehicle to capture public sentiment.

What I did

Moodgeist was my personal research project and an experiment to show what’s currently happening in the “Skype Land” and what’s the Skype community’s “collective state of mind”. I created Moodgeist to get firsthand experience of how to make a client-server web service, and to gain expertise in creating client applications in Objective-C on Mac and in Visual Basic on Windows, and practice creating and maintaining a server application written in Django and Python.

Technically, Moodgeist consisted of two parts. “pinger” was the program that sat in the computers of the users who had chosen to install it, and “pinged” over the data from their Skype contact lists to the Moodgeist server. “server” was the software I wrote that was listening to these pings on moodgeist.com. It collected and stored the pinged data and published it for everyone to see and use.

I invented the concept and wrote all the client and server software. I got some pro bono assistance from good friends with the visuals (icon, web interface layout).

Outcome

I made the client software publicly available and distributed it to a few friends in the Skype community, but it was never a focus for myself or Skype as a business. It died without getting anywhere. The intent was the same as Twitter, who launched in 2006 and turned the very same idea into an actual business.