Despite fretting over all the security and traffic restrictions in London, Britons appear to be warming up to hosting the 2012 Summer Olympics. A warm yellow glow, to be exact.
The yellow is the color of the lights on the London Eye, the giant Ferris wheel on the River Thames that has been been programmed to reflect the mood of the country toward the Olympics, as measured by the tone of the social-media messages Twitter users are sending. The lights on the Eye change color depending on the tone detected in those messages, with yellow indicating a positive mood. On Monday night, for example, two thirds of the sphere glowed yellow.
The Eye’s light show was engineered by a Boston company, Sosolimited, which devised a system that analyzes the content of Olympic-related tweets and calculates a collective national mood, based on the occurrence of words in the messages like “amaze,’’ “fear,” and “tears’’ that suggest emotion.
Sosolimited was engaged for the unusual job by Ignite, a brand-marketing firm hired by EDF Energy, the Eye’s sponsor and the official supplier of electricity for the Summer Games. The company was looking for a way to highlight the intensity of Olympic fever in Britain.
Sosolimited, which was founded by three graduates of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, spent four months coming up with the technology behind Energy of the Nation, the Twitter-fueled light show taking over the city’s icon for the next two weeks.
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