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How does the Internet really see you?

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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.

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Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.