Real-time, organic exhibit at MIT shows the reality and mystery of social media data and culture. The installation was created by Aaron Zinman and is entitled Personas | Metropath(ologies).
Arriving visitors enter their name while search engines analyze existing data and begin projecting information of the current community. Here’s what my search revealed.
We generate our own data and share a web presence with individuals with whom we share a name. Like it or not. For example, I share search space with an international automotive sports club. That’s the only way I can understand travel, aggression, and medical.
Just watching a video of the Personas exhibit, it’s surprising how intrusive it all seems. Your data moves freely out there in space and interacts with the data of other gallery visitors. Yet, as you can see from this bar, there’s no opportunity to give final approval to your persona before it hits the virtual screen of Web 2.0 living or dispute what does and doesn’t belong to you. There’s the gift and challenge all in one.
But with some level of denial, we seem to accept the data we generate about ourselves, because it’s “out there.” Based on this exhibit, however, you can see the perplexing questions this raises for marketers, consumers, and government.