My Persona and The Other Matt Grommes


Personas | Metropath(ologies) | An installation by Aaron Zinman

This is a very interesting data visualization art piece from MIT. You enter your name and it looks for everything online it can find about you. For reference, here's mine:

my_personaAlthough I should say this is different than the first time I put my name in a few days ago so I'm not sure what they use to determine that picture. There's nothing behind the scenes I can see about it either. I'd like to be able to click on the bar and see the inputs but that doesn't appear to be possible.

There is one weird thing about this project though, and it illustrates the problem with googling for people for job interviews, dates, etc. A few months ago another guy with the name Matt Grommes was involved in a car accident where the other driver died. This has nothing to do with me but it shows up in this bar and in any searches for my name, if you go past the first page of results. The legal section of the bar is not about me at all but it shows up pretty prominently. As we use these type of tools (I can see something like this being regularly attached to resumes by the HR department in the near future) more and more, they'll have not only include more data, but be able to filter out "other" Matt Grommeses. My name is not very common and I still have another guy's data in my Persona. Imagine what he thinks if he were to put his name in.