Even the most organized email inbox is mind-numbing to look at, let alone to parse. But a team from the MIT Media lab has created a new way for you to see your email, as an intimate and elegant visualization of your life, organized around people.

Tracing every email you’ve ever sent, a new tool called Immersion crafts a complex web of our lives and relationships. The program maps your personal life in a web of circles and lines that shows who you’ve communicated with and how often since you first opened your email account.

Curious who you emailed the most in September 2010? Or how many 3am emails you’ve sent? Immersion can even trace a specific relationship, from the first email sent, to the most recent exchange.

Watch data scientists Deepak Jagdish and Daniel Smilkov explain how Immersion works and how it came to be:

Read more on the TED blog

[A large scale of Americans were asked, “Looking back over the past 6 months, who are the people with whom you discussed matters important to you?” in 1985 and 2004.] The percentage of Americans who list a friend, a sibling, a coworker, a co-member of a group, or a neighbor as a close confidant — who have at least one member of those social categories that is an actual confidant — has plummeted on the order of 30-60% over the course of 19 years in our very recent history.

The percentage of Americans in 1985 who listed a co-member of a group as a close confidant was 26.1%. By 2004, that number had plummeted to 11.8% … In 1985, 18.5% of Americans had at least one neighbor who was a close confidant. By 2004, that number had plummeted to 7.9%

…More and more of us are increasingly dependent, increasingly focused on the spousal relationship at the expense of this much broader social milieu we used to have, [so] keeping a high quality marriage when we’re putting so much stock in this one relationship is crucial.

…Most people, when they think about intervening in their marriage, think about marital therapy. That’s fine, except that most people — when they think about marital therapy — they view it as the final stopgap procedure that you use because you’re about to divorce. They say, ‘Well, gosh, it’s been 15 years and I’ve sort of hated you all this time and now we’re thinking about divorce, let’s go see somebody about that.’ That is the wrong time, the wrong time to seek marital therapy because you’ve developed terrible patterns … you’ve developed scar tissue created from hurt and anger and frustration.

I want to suggest that the right time to intervene is earlier.

Eli Finkel, in his TEDxUChicago talk, "The hack to save your marriage."

In his talk, social scientist Finkel sheds light on an overwhelmingly simple step that couples can take to maybe save their relationships — something he calls, “the marriage hack.” Watch his whole talk here. 
It’s not enough that you have this sort of decent relationship with this person. He also has to be your best friend. He also has to be your only romantic partner. He also has to be somebody who inspires you every day. He has to be somebody who is going to help your career. He has to be somebody who co-parents with you. He has to meet you on 25 different levels of intersection.
Elizabeth Gilbert on marriage, quoted in Eli Finkel’s TEDxUChicago talk, "The hack to save your marriage."

"Relative to any time in the past," Eli says in his talk, "we are depending on the marital bond more and more for these emotional, physical, career-related needs … and what that means is that the quality of your marriage is more important today than ever before … that keeping a high-quality marriage when we are putting so much stock in this one relationship is crucial." Watch his whole talk here. 

In the free market of individual desire, I negotiate my value every day.Hence, the contemporary man’s anguish. His obsession. "Am I desirable? How much? How many people are going to love me?"How does he respond to this anguish? Well, by hysterically accumulating symbols of desirability [fancy cars, clothes, jewelry]. I call this accumulation, along with others, the seduction capital.It is said — about consumption — that our age is materialistic. But it’s not true. 
We accumulate objects in order to communicate with other minds. We do it to make them love us. To seduce them. Nothing is less materialistic or more sentimental than a teenager buying brand new jeans and tearing them at the knees because he wants to impress Jennifer.Consumerism is not materialism. It is rather — engulfed matter sacrificed in the name of the love god, or — rather — in the name of the seduction capital.

— TEDxParis speaker Yann Dall’Aglio on the free market of love. Watch his entire talk here.
Photo by Flickr user @Doug88888.

In the free market of individual desire, I negotiate my value every day.

Hence, the contemporary man’s anguish. His obsession. "Am I desirable? How much? How many people are going to love me?"

How does he respond to this anguish? Well, by hysterically accumulating symbols of desirability [fancy cars, clothes, jewelry]. I call this accumulation, along with others, the seduction capital.

It is said — about consumption — that our age is materialistic. But it’s not true.

We accumulate objects in order to communicate with other minds. We do it to make them love us. To seduce them.

Nothing is less materialistic or more sentimental than a teenager buying brand new jeans and tearing them at the knees because he wants to impress Jennifer.

Consumerism is not materialism. It is rather — engulfed matter sacrificed in the name of the love god, or — rather — in the name of the seduction capital.


TEDxParis speaker Yann Dall’Aglio on the free market of love. Watch his entire talk here.

Photo by Flickr user @Doug88888.