MIT has developed a tool that helps you visualize your Gmail called Immersion. It analyzes your emails and not only shows you whom you have frequently interacted with, but also how the people you email with are interconnected.
Anyone you have had contact with more than three times is termed a collaborator and you can see at once who your biggest collaborators are. The bigger the circle, the more interaction.
Very insightful, very interesting. Here’s an example (labels removed):
The above image is the visualization of the last years of using my Gmail. I’ve left out the names for obvious privacy reasons, but the networks are clearly visible. It’s cool to see patterns: the orange network is my immediate family for instance and the blue one my former church, where I used to work as a youth pastor. You can clearly see the amount of emails I exchanged with the pastor!
But the tool also helps you show who your new collaborators are and how the amount of email you have received and sent has fluctuated over the years, as you can see below.
There has to be some kind of bug though, because it doesn’t show any emails received prior to 2010. No idea what that is about.
This can give you a lot of insight into how you use your email and who you communicate with the most. I found this particularly interesting as I filtered it year by year and could see a shift in who I communicated with the most often — not to mention how you can visualize how all your connections connect!
If you want to give it a try, just go to the MIT Immersion site that offers the tool, enter your Gmail address (it’s secure, they don’t look at the contents of the email, just the addresses and ask you to delete your data before closing the site).