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Personas – see how the Internet sees you


I came across another interesting data visualization site today called Personas that was part of the Metropath(ologies) exhibit at the MIT Museum by the Sociable Media Group from the MIT Media Lab. The site creates an aggregate display of your online identity by scouring the web for information based on nothing but your name and attempts to put you into a predetermined set of categories. It runs through a few different stages of analysis before it presents you with a colored, segmented line that shows what you are made of according to the internet.

I like this not only as an information design exercise but that it a great illustration of how the vast amount of data on the internet can be filled with near perfect insights as well as huge errors and mischaracterizations. I think that this ying and yang of good and bad is a natural result of pulling data from a one dimensional search, in this case only your name, and the inclusion of any other metrics would obviously greatly improve the results. That being said I think it is also a good reminder that all the data in the world is useless without the skill to be able to analyze and mine the data to separate the gems from the trash.

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