What do you look like?

Sure, you know your face in a mirror. But what do you look like to the internet?

Let's be honest - you've probably Googled yourself to see what comes up. Who hasn't? Well, now MIT has come out with an online program called "Personas" which artistically "uses sophisticated natural language processing and the Internet to create a data portrait of one's aggregated online identity." Simply put, it shows you how the internet sees you.

The developers explain exactly what it does:

"Enter your name, and Personas scours the web for information and attempts to characterize the person - to fit them to a predetermined set of categories that an algorithmic process created from a massive corpus of data. The computational process is visualized with each stage of the analysis, finally resulting in the presentation of a seemingly authoritative personal profile."

What's interesting to me is that it keeps changing. Here are three of me I did in a row, for example:

It picked up my experience as a camp director for the American Go Association's Go Camp every time, allotting me a "management" block in two of them. Two seemed to pick up on my blog and other writing about science and health and gave me "medical," and two grabbed something about my "education." But the rest seemed to vary quite widely. You can see some of the words it pulls and what the context is, so you can get an idea of whether it's really finding you or someone else. My only wish is that you could see every link it is finding - for example, what gave me "aggression"? I'm dying to know.

Anyhow, it's pretty neat. You should check it out.

(h/t to Science Cheerleader)

More like this

I don't often point people to online game-like interactive thingies, but this one has my endorsement. Give yourself a few minutes to watch the process. It can be gruesome: Personas is a component of the Metropath(ologies) exhibit, recently on display at the MIT Museum by the Sociable Media Group…
A friend wanted me to see this public service announcement, which is an excellent visual display of quantitative information and a good way to provoke guilt: When he sent me the link, he routed me through this awesome blog called Information Aesthetics that has been around since 2004 (where have…
During my summer blogging break, I thought I'd repost of few of my "greatest hits" from my old blog, just so you all wouldn't miss me so much. This one is from September 3, 2008. There was some nice discussion on Friendfeed that's worth checking out. ===== Some recent posts that got me thinking…
In which I unpack a cryptic paper title and explain how quantum superposition lets you use light to keep things from interacting with light. ------------- I joined AAAS a couple of years ago to get a break on the registration fee for their meeting, and I've kept up the membership mostly because I…