If you were able to visit my Expo project this year you know that I am interested in visualizations. As I presented the visualizations, peoples’ reactions to the student email data sparked additional ideas for visualizations. One of the possibilities that came up was to plot the rate at which email was sent over the entire semester.
The programming to accomplish this was fairly easy as I could reuse the python script that I had written for my Expo visualizations. Yesterday my curiosity finally got the better of me. Here are the results for total emails over time and emails per day. Once again the data did not reflect my initial hypothesis. It appears that the total number of emails grows closer to linearly than exponentially. However, I find that the line plot of emails per day is much more interesting than the totals graph(the grey bars represent weekends). On the micro scale, you can see that email has very cyclic weekly patterns. On the macro scale you can see that the number of emails per day is generally higher after spring break.
You can obtain the python source here. However you will have to provide your own email data in mbox format (the mailbox format used in Thunderbird). Given an mbox file, the program generates tab delimited output which can be piped to a file and manipulated using any spreadsheet program. The spreadsheet used to create the graphs can be found here. Thats pretty much all I have, feel free to create your own crazy email rate graphs.