Personas Web

Ian Bogost flagged this one from the netherline — a curious visualization engine called “personas Web” used to create these kinds of colored bands that somehow represent and categorize me based on a comb through of the network, I assume. I might be projecting a bit, but it appears that the principle here is this: through an aggregation of “stuff” found about me, seeded only by my first and last name, this instrument constructs a visualization by data scouring. I like the idea generally speaking — or, it’s provocative at least. You can imagine data “fingerprints” or some such thing. A unique signature of you and your footprint in all teh world’s databases and links and structures and this then indicates the canonical you in some weird data geek-y, network-y way.

The engine does lots of quick-cut processing, and you can sort of watch it do its work. It reminds me of watching a really well-done, action packed, cut-cut-cut visual introduction to an action-spy film, like Bourne or something. But, meh..then its like the film gets snagged in the sprockets and breaks. The house lights come up. People moan and throw popcorn at the screen. Because it just stops dead leaving me with a bunch of striped bars and some vague categories. I guess I am now meant to interpret the size of the bars? Or correlate that in my brain to myself and who I am? And what’s this “illegal” category of things? I’d sure like to investigate where that came from.


But, there doesn’t seem to be any mechanism for shift-right-clicking your way into the slag heap of stuff from which the color bar was assembled. And the process runs awfully quick in the midst of it so there’s no making sense of it along the way. It’s a nice idea, or what I think the idea is is, you know…nice. The punch colors are colorful and web-2.0-y, I guess. But, sadly, I have no clear idea about how this is meant to convey information in a meaningful, interactive, exploratory way.

Why do I blog this? Remind myself about data visualization, analytics and all the other things. Visual data footprints could be a nice sort of unique mark.
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