Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow.

Data comes to life in this Webby-winning interactive exploration of our collective sentiments during the pandemic.

This is an experiment to make the emotional impact of the pandemic visible. Explore hundreds of thousands of Tweets, organized by sentiment. Follow the curves, layers, and patterns of our collective feelings. What you’ll see is a story of resilience. People making sense, finding solace, and moving forward. 

Watching the pandemic through an epidemiologist’s lens and learning concepts like “social distancing” and “herd immunity” keeps us safe. But it ignores our humanity. It’s more important than ever to remember and celebrate that we’re human. Human feelings, to us, are the defining data of this pandemic. 

To honour that human story, we used Twitter to trace the social narrative of the pandemic. Analyzing over 70k tweets per month, we used IBM Watson’s AI to 

map four unique sentiments: fear, joy, sadness, and confidence. 

You can explore our circular timeline to see how major events have shaped the conversation, how our shared humanity has expressed itself in common topics, and how feelings have evolved (and continue to evolve) over time. As the outbreak continues, we’ll keep collecting memories and predictions, and mapping the colour and shape of our experience. 

This project is about hardship, hope, and the collective experience. Things that have changed, things that haven’t, and things that may still. 

This is an unprecedented challenge, but we are resilient — yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

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Visual Design: Mapping the emotional life cycle of the pandemic. 

The end result of our experiment is a timeline that you can explore three ways: chronologically, by topic, or by sentiment. The timeline is visualized as a circle made up of smaller points – each representing a single Tweet. On that same circle you can see major pandemic events and milestones, the catalysts for emotional shifts.

Clicking leads you into a month where you can see an overview of events. As you pull back the layers, you move from global to personal, revealing increasingly intimate stories. 

You can filter those posts by emotion, to see how certain key events impacted the collective mood, you can look at keywords, or you can explore recurring themes like Family First, The Second Wave, Life on Hold, and #BLM. You’re also invited to contribute your own thoughts about the present moment, or what life might look like in the future. The circle represents the cyclic and continuous nature of a conversation; there’s no end.

We continue processing, changing, and adapting.