In the summer of 2018 I downloaded the entirety of my gmail account. I couldn't resist reading old emails and chat messages I'd written and received with my girlfriend, who then became my fiance, and then my wife. I thought it would be interesting to apply some data analysis and visualization tools to these messages. This web site is the result of that.
The first₁ email I sent to her was on 3rd December 2008, and sounds right grandmotherly.
Baby, be careful driving today. It's snowing hard. Leave for class with plenty of time and drive slow. Please. xoxo
Over the next 10 years we would exchange 30,068 emails and chat messages on Gmail products only. From those messages I pulled the 970 most frequently used words between and drew them here with fun colors.
I was curious to see how often the word "love" appeared. I thought surely it was in the top 5 words we write to one another.
It's the 32nd most frequently used word, falling just behind the words work, need, and got.
All the words to come.
Looking at these messages and playing with this data reminded me of how many little mundane things go into a building a life with someone. The long witty vibrant messages we exchanged early in our relationship so often don't even register in the ocean of one syllable glue words that hold our communication together.
There is a lot of sweetness and intimacy in those small words. Phrases like:
She's getting so big
see you soon!
are made with them.
Maybe then it is almost hot (?!) that we would talk about the bank more than New Zealand or Mexico.
Making this showed me that there could be a lot more there, too. I'm resolving to think more about what I write so that the next time I do this we see fewer mentions of doctor and hospital, and bank and dinner. I intend for there to be more planning words, more happiness words, more xoxo and more many occurances of the word love
I'll start now! I love you Annie. Merry Christmas xoxo