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Personas [media.mit.edu] uses sophisticated natural language processing algorithms to create a detailed, visual data portrait of one's aggregated online identity.

Personas explores 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 as a DNA-like, colorful strip with each stage of the analysis, finally resulting in the presentation of a seemingly authoritative personal profile.

Be sure to type in your own name in the online interface: is Personas able to analyze and represent your online identity in a sufficient way?




It's a very slick display, but the results leave a lot to be desired. Mine doesn't seem to really categorize me very well, and I'd love to get a peek at the actual data that created this particular vision of myself.

Wed 19 Aug 2009 at 7:27 AM

@Rachel I'm glad you liked the visualization. However, it is clear you didn't read the explanation on personas.media.mit.edu. This is meant as a critique of data mining... from the web page: "Personas demonstrates the computer's uncanny insights and its inadvertent errors, such as the mischaracterizations caused by the inability to separate data from multiple owners of the same name"

Also all the actual data is right in front of you. It's each 'factoid'.

--Aaron (the creator)

Wed 19 Aug 2009 at 8:47 AM

I was a bit sad to see it is a resolution-dependent flash site. On my netbook there was no way to make my window fit its demands to display anything.

Wed 19 Aug 2009 at 11:36 AM

Pretty display, but not sure how they're running the data and analyzing it. Can't say the visualization really maps to my online persona that well. Or perhaps I need to work on my online persona if it does.

Wed 19 Aug 2009 at 12:01 PM

This was created in the context of the Connections exhibit at the MIT Museum (http://web.mit.edu/museum/exhibitions/connections/), and is only one piece among many examining the modern world overflowing with information.

@apollo The design itself takes up a certain amount of room, and does not look good otherwise. I'm sorry if your display is too small.

@Todd All the data is simply the snippets you read, and they are processed using Latent Dirichlet Allocation.

Wed 19 Aug 2009 at 1:01 PM

the strength of the site and visualisation lies in the data-gathering process shown -- which is rather mesmerising!

although the end visualisation isn't spectacular... could have added details/interaction to this.

Wed 19 Aug 2009 at 2:55 PM

Looks good, but not very accurate. And it's a shame they don't offer a permalink to the results.
I ran it on the name George Bush. Largest bar was Sports, followed by Online, and then Politics and Illegal (about the same size each).

I think Bush (both of them) were involved in more politics than sports, and their names were associated with more illegal activities than with online ones.

Thu 20 Aug 2009 at 2:47 AM

For me I have tried couple of times, and each time it displayed drastically different data. Not sure why.

Thu 20 Aug 2009 at 8:02 AM

Here you can see Personas in the context of the art installation for which it was made:


(or http://bit.ly/jcKBr )

- which will help explain why its accuracy is rather off-center.

Thu 20 Aug 2009 at 11:12 AM

Please display the data associated with my name.

Sat 29 Aug 2009 at 6:07 AM
Cherry Muller

Please display the data associated with my name

Fri 25 Sep 2009 at 5:52 AM

I am confused!

Wed 06 Jan 2010 at 9:43 AM
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