Indulge your ego for a moment. Imagine a distant future where you are an icon of our age. There is a museum dedicated to you. People come from around the world to discover who you were through the images, video, and words taken from records kept safe through the years by Facebook. As you picture the exhibits, what do they include? How would the future see you through the lens of your online identity?
Intel’s “Museum of Me” is an innovative glimpse into what that might actually look like. By connecting to your Facebook account, the website creates a virtual museum tour dedicated to you. If you haven’t tried it yet, I strongly recommend it. The experience is quite thought-provoking.
However, what the software decided to include was unusual. There were friends who weren’t really friends, and phrases out of context. Some pictures I recognized, others held absolutely no meaning. If this was truly a “Museum of Me”, the patrons would now be mistaken about who I actually am, or was. And if this is based on data from Facebook, maybe Facebook doesn’t have a very good idea about who I am either.
With all the information available on my profile, can a metric or algorithm really capture anything truly insightful about me? Perhaps the usefulness in these mountains of data ends with micro-targeting.
As people we often get each other wrong. Misconceptions and false impressions, egos, vanity, and pride, they all confuse the world to who we really are. More of the same data doesn’t mean a better market profile; you need different sets of data to compare. No matter how big our online lives get, parts of them will remain offline. If you’re depending solely on Facebook and Google to describe your market, you’ll get a picture that’s incomplete and maybe even inaccurate.
Do you compare what you learn about your market online to what you know from other sources? If it doesn’t line up, who do you believe?