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Personas


Personas is an application that searches your name on the web and returns a profile of what it finds. Mine is pictured.
Personas is a component of the Metropath(ologies) exhibit, currently on display at the MIT Museum by the Sociable Media Group from the MIT Media Lab. It uses sophisticated natural language processing and the Internet to create a data portrait of one's aggregated online identity. In short, Personas shows you how the Internet sees you.

I was surprised to see I had more "sports" in my profile than anything else -must've been the Olympics. And it's nice that my "legal" was bigger than my "illegal"! But the most interesting part was seeing all those things people said about me while it was processing. The one that stands out was "Your inquiry ‘Miss Cellania is an idiot' did not return any results." Ha! (Of course, now that I’ve written it out, there will be results for that query.) Try your own name and puzzle over the results. Link -via the Presurfer

I typed in my first and last name (the combination of which I think im the only person in the world who has -- my last name was a spelling error after all haha)

And what came up while it was processing was "absolutely beautiful"

and I got all happy and warm and fuzzy inside...
but then I realized....

That was a comment i had written on amazon.com about one of the earrings i purchased..

*cries*
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It gives different results every time I run it. As a scientist, the non-repeatability of this tells me it's a bunch of BS.
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I'm pretty sure that all of the information coming up has nothing to do with me at all...I was robbed a few years ago though, and just for fun, I put in the name of the assailant. His "illegal" bar was almost non-existant, while mine was the largest of all.
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"Johnny Cat was arrested today for eating Roger Rabbit." Um...k. I also tried my real name, which I apparently share with some "whiny bitch, insecure douche" on ESPN radio.
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One alias gives 30 scrolls of info, all NOT about me.
My main alias that I use here gives 29 scrolls all related to that rockband.
My real name gives 2 scrolls with information about fascinating people with Glorious careers that are definitely not mine...

So I'm safe. :-)
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So I punched in Professor Farnsworth and got a real kick out of watching the 'legal' and 'illegal' categories duke it out. It took forever going through links, though.

I am befuddled over how big the 'sports' block is -- regardless of what name is entered.
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For what it's worth, I also got a quote pop up that said something like "Johnny Cat is right. The Star Wars spoofs on Robot Chicken are excellent!" Which I totally remember from some old Neatorama post.
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This was simply wrong, and results changes with multiple entries. I have no interest in any sports, yet they always figured in heavily.
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I entered my real name, and the only hit was some guy who was convicted for petty larceny ... some 250 years ago. Great, so I get to carry someone else's rap because they had the same name. :( Hope no HR dept ever decides this is a serious tool and utilizes it to make a hiring decision.
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Going to agree with the sports thing. I'm a hockey fan, yes, but my online persona is involved in so many art forums and sites, I got more for illegal, cars, books and sports than art.

It seems like it's pulling key words out of a search, in which case I'm surprised it's not showing more results for "the" and "I."
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Hi, creator here.

You guys should read the text on personas.media.mit.edu, where you'll see this is an art piece that is critiquing data mining. Inaccuracies are a part of it, although not intentionally put in. The first couple comments are clearly people who got the point of it, which is great to see since this is being shown on the Internet without the added context of the entire museum exhibit.

As far as the "repeatability", the data is what Yahoo gives me. No trickery here.

Aaron
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I did it, and what I got back was that it was a waste of my time, including the part about figuring out how to make my screen bigger so that it would work.

Now that it turns out to be an "art project" instead of something, I don't know, interesting, I am a lot more sanguine about it.
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To those confused about the sports section: I was watching while it ran, and it looks like the algorithm takes words like "team", "member", "pair", and others to be sports-related, when it could be something completely different.

I share my very common name (even first + last) with several famous people, so I am pretty anonymous.
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Hi Aaron Zinman.

To start off, it should have worked no matter what the screen size. Surely that's not difficult to achieve?

It struck me that you were just googling the information - Yahoo, whatever - and putting pretty colours to the words. I don't know how that shows "how the Internet sees you" any more than the actual words in context do. I thought MIT was more sophisticated than that.
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I never hide my full name if a website needs it, and my screen name wiirenet, i have registered to a lot of websites/forums/etc with that screen name..

and this thing says it finds nothing of my full name or screen name!

I know when I google both I get results, wonder why its not working on this machine
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