Have you ever sent an email and regretted it? I’ve sent many in my time – one even got me fired from a job! The purpose of email is to communicate the facts not discuss emotionally laden topics like performance issues. What I find though is that when I’m angry, I forget about all the advice from business communication gurus. I hit the send button and ignore that little voice telling me ‘Maybe you should have another think about that’.
Sleep On It is designed to turn that little voice into a foghorn. It will use sentiment analysis technology to quickly scan your email when you press send. If it detects excessive levels of emotion, it will block the sending process and pop up a dialog: “Are you sure you want to send this? You sound pretty annoyed. Maybe a phone call would be better.”
My goal with this project is to reduce workplace conflict. There’s nothing worse than getting an angry email. Unlike a phone call or face to face, the other person doesn’t get the opportunity to see your reaction. I would never say the things I have written via email in a face to face meeting but something about the Gmail interface shuts down my empathy sensors. The recipient becomes an isolated object rather than a human with emotions.
If you’ve ever sent an email you regret, sign up for Sleep On It and stop your angry self from saying things your logical self would regret.
Sleep On It is a gmail extension that starts work when you press send. It quickly scans the email body for tone and if it detects any anger, it will immediately stop the email send process and ask you to confirm you really want to proceed.
I’m a web developer and will be building this tool out because I really want it for myself. I thought I’d put it on KickStarter to see if anyone else would use it too.
Since then we’ve realised that a lot of the technology is relatively easy to build and gone ahead and written a couple of sentiment analysis products. We’d love your feedback. Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
One of the inspirations for Empath was a comment from Eric Schmidt (Chairman of Google) that the internet needs a ‘spell check for hate’. With rates of cyber bullying on the rise (e.g. see this article about increasing rates of cyber bullying affecting public servants), tools that help filter out inappropriate messages are vital for preserving workplace harmony.
We hope that our range of email and social media filters can help people to go on a ‘negativity diet’ and also catch themselves before they send written communication that they will regret.