Digital systems are not designed to consider emotions. As a result, the tools we have for expressing our emotions online are severely lacking in quality. This in turn inhibits empathy, the mechanisms that allow people to understand each other, connect and collaborate.
The problem is evident in how discussions online easily become unnecessarily heated, in the growing rate of cyberbullying and in the difficulties that distributed teams have in their cooperation.
What to do?
We need to emotionally enrich the structure of online communication. We need “emotional tweaks” to existing digital interaction platforms. Increased emotional richness would make the Internet an empathy-enabling environment.
Ultimately, we envision that the tweaks that we create can compile an open protocol for emotion transmission that any developer can use in building empathy-enabling solutions.
This would mean ETP, emotion transfer protocol, alongside the current mode of online communication, HTTP (hypertext transfer protocol).