How does the Internet really see you?

You ever wonder how the Internet sees you? Googling yourself is one way to find out, but what if you've always yearned to see yourself as a cross between a bar graph and abstract art? Well, now thanks to the MIT's Sociable Media Lab and Aaron Zinman, you can find out. Zinman's created an installation called Personas that maps data culled from the 'net into specific categories, then turns the whole thing into a visual representation like the one shown above, which shows how I look to the Internet. Predictably, music and movies, my two favorite things to write about on the Internet, show wide swathes. More surprisingly, fame shows almost as much volume. I had no idea I was so famous. Maybe I'm big in Japan?

Here's the philosophy behind it, as stated on the Personas website:

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.

Check it out for yourself here, or hit the jump to see how the Internet perceives three of Denver's biggest celebrities: Mayor John Hickenlooper, Troubleshooter Tom Martino and new Broncos coach Josh McDaniels.

Click on each image for a larger, more legible version.

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Cory Casciato is a Denver-based writer with a passion for the geeky, from old science fiction movies to brand-new video games.
Contact: Cory Casciato