Monday, November 23, 2009

How does the Internet see you? Mapping your digital history

Ever "Google yourself?" Aaron Zinman of MIT created a tool that analyzes all of the content surrounding your full name on the Internet and then tells you what "personas" you fit into. He makes the point on his site that "Digital histories are as important, if not more important, than oral histories." Wow, that's a pretty bold statement, but one that I'm starting to agree with more and more over time.

If you're not familiar with the concept of "personas" in marketing and user experience, here's a definition from Wikipedia:
Personas are fictional characters created to represent the different user types within a targeted demographic that might use a site or product. Personas are useful in considering the goals, desires, and limitations of the users in order to help to guide decisions about a product, such as features, interactions, and visual design.
Here's my persona profile generated by the tool. I have to say I agree mostly with the assessment.

You can get a lot more information on the MIT Personas Project here.

I imagine this tool works best on unique names, like mine. I think there's an Erin Eschen in Florida, but this one picked up on my content primarily. If your name is "John Smith," you're probably not going to get anything out of it. Additionally, if you're not one to put much out there publicly online, it isn't likely to give you much back.


  1. We love your blog postings, so well add your rss or news feed for them, Thanks and please post us and leave a comment back and well link to you. Thanks Jen College Jobs.

  2. Very interesting idea - much like the color code personality test. I wonder what our Crowdfunding donors would look like - all come from social media on the net -

  3. Interesting concept. I'm interested to see this tool develop more.


Thank you for commenting on my blog post! I really appreciate the conversation. -Erin

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