To create a portrait, you simply enter your name and the site searches the web for content related to you. The visualization of this search process is well-designed, but it’s also frustrating to see articles come up that you know aren’t related to you. For example, if I enter “Emily Chang” I see posts and content about me, but also content about other Emily Changs, most notably, the CNN reporter by the same name.
The project creators acknowledge this in the description of their philosophy, saying:
In a world where fortunes are sought through data-mining vast information repositories, the computer is our indispensable but far from infallible assistant. 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. 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.
True, but it would have been a fun interaction to be able to just click “not relevant” on those mischaracterizations, and fascinating to see a more relevant portrait of oneself. I tend to think my persona snapshot (shown above) would not have such high weights for “military, sports, genealogy, committees, medicine, aggression, domestic, illegal, religious, or medical.”
Try your own online data portrait at Personas.