My Web Personality

This is from an art installation that appeared at the MIT Museum. It grabs information from the web and classifies the keywords. I’m not at all sure how it thinks I’m a big sports fan–I can’t imagine what words I use that are “sporty”!–but as the write-up suggests “It is meant for the viewer to reflect on our current and future world, where digital histories are as important if not more important than oral histories, and computational methods of condensing our digital traces are opaque and socially ignorant.”

Check out how the internet sees you.

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  1. Posted 9/4/2009 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    I guess I don’t understand this project. If I give them my name — which is far more common than yours — I see it flashing through files for a retired mine worker and a former professional football player, among others. Obviously, those people aren’t me. It can’t possibly construct a digital snapshot of me without knowing other information to filter out other people with my name. Am I missing the point or expecting too much?

    It’s fun to watch it work, though.

  2. Posted 9/5/2009 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    I think that’s part of what they’re trying to get at. If someone searches for my name (globally unique) what they find is still not “me,” but at least isn’t confused with lots of other people. If you search for someone with a fairly common name, it’s also not too much of a problem, since people will expect a search for “John Smith” to turn up lots of people who are not the target. I think where this becomes worrying is when you share your name with just a handful of people, and there is “brand confusion” resulting.

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