What does your online self look like to a computer? To find out, pop over to Aaron Zinman’s Personas project, which was part of an exhibit held at the MIT Museum in Massachusetts. Type in your name and the free program will comb the Internet looking for related data, then use it to create a color-coded bar that visually represents who you appear to be online. It’s an interesting idea and a fun way to spend five minutes — and the colorful output reminds me of ribbons on a military uniform.
Of course, the computer can’t differentiate between people with the same name online, which can skew the results. And although my last name is unique (I don’t know of any other Hofmann-Bourques out there), the fact is that as a writer I have a number of articles posted online on a lot of different topics, and they don’t necessarily reflect who I am as a person. My ribbon, above, includes some odd categories, such as aggression. I find it amusing that while “military” shows up as one of my biggest categories, my husband, Kyle — who’s actually in the Army — doesn’t have anything military associated with his name, below. Then again, he has a uniform pinned with real ribbons, so he wins.
Check it out for yourself and please share: What does your “ribbon” look like?