Persona: A persona is the mask or appearance one presents to the world. Importantly, the persona, used in this sense, is not a pose or some other intentional misrepresentation of the self to others. Rather, it is the self as self-construed, and may change according to situation and context.
In case you’re wondering what’s all that psychological mumbo jumbo was about, let me introduce you to the Personas Project from MIT. Built by Aaron Zinman, the project, in its online avatar, is a website that takes your name as an input and scours the internet for its traces. Out of the sites and pages that it finds, it picks the keywords best describing them and presents in a ‘weighted image’ – which is your (name’s) persona on the web!
It actually helps if your name is a unique one and you’ve used the same name across different places on the internet. If like me, you’re in the habit of using different monikers at different sites, your profile will be a stunted one! Some of my er…um…aliases threw up rather confusing results:
Why would my name be associated with religion or aggression or legal or medical, I have no idea of! Plus, its evident how the varied usage of the name produces varied results. So whilst ychittaranjan is a sports enthusiast, yerramalli chittaranjan spends more time online than anything else! Too bad the website doesn’t allow numericals, my most commonly-used moniker of ycr007 would surely have some interesting results
Here’s some more information about Personas:
What?: 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.
How?: Enter your name, and Personas scours the web for information and attempts to characterize the person – to fit them to a predetermined set of categories that an algorithmic process created from a massive corpus of data. The computational process is visualized with each stage of the analysis, finally resulting in the presentation of a seemingly authoritative personal profile. [Personas Homepage]
Please do not confuse it with the Personas Skins for Firefox from Mozilla! And if you are a bit reluctant to check out your name on the WWW, you can always check out your blog’s wordle over here. Enjoy!