Personas profile

Here is my Personas profile. It was quite a bit of fun watching it scan for information on me (“Karen Hellekson is…,” and keywords would flash by). I’m surprised about how little of it is about…er…copyediting, which I do for a living. I’m pleased to be considered an educator, and I certainly do a lot of service work. I’m employed in the publishing industry, and I used to write book reviews for Publishers Weekly, so the “books” thing makes sense. But why is “sports” listed so high? Must be aerobics!

Hellekson Personas profile
Hellekson Personas profile. [View full size]

The thing that strikes me about this exercise is how the computer perceives my presenting myself on the Internet. I think of myself as primarily a copyeditor who does academic stuff on the side, but I don’t tend to write about my copyediting for privacy concerns. Likewise, I don’t blog about the work I do for the academic journal I coedit, Transformative Works and Cultures, but I spend a huge amount of time on it.

In interesting post yesterday on “Being Yourself Online (of usernames and avatars),” Brian Croxall talks about presenting himself online and controlling the message. Like Croxall, I have organized my online presence to a single username. But my connection with the fan world means that I post under my fan name also, although I have done very little of that since I started working on TWC because I do not have time; I now serve fandom not by creating but by administrating. Yet seeing my Personas result without the fan component means that an important aspect of me is absent.

I think it’s a good idea to create an online identity under your RL name that you can control, but I would also argue that having a separate identity may be an important part of the performance of self.

This text is copyrighted under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. It was originally written on August 25, 2009. It may be freely copied anywhere. If you read this document a site other than its original, I may not see any comments you might append, and I’d love to hear from you. Please comment at the original blog post if you wish me to see your remarks.


2 thoughts on “Personas profile

  1. The Personas program is cool, but it didn’t work for me. My first and last names – and the combination – are common, and the program doesn’t allow for including middle names or even really initials. (Using an initial isn’t a fail-safe either, as my middle initial is a letter commonly used in a lot of geneological abbreviations.)

    If anything, it indicates how flawed the idea that one can know – or control – a person’s internet presence in any simple way.

    Ironically, my pseudonym is easier to identify and pinpoint! There’s more noise, but the difference between signal and noise is much, much clearer than is the case when searching under my legal name.

    • I suppose I am lucky in that my name is unique, so this kind of program works well! I spend a lot of time spelling my name aloud (“That’s h, e, l, l”). If you type in my name at Google and hit “I’m feeling lucky,” it will take you to my Web site.

      I didn’t try this with my fan name! I ought to.

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