I’ve always thought it would be cool to walk into a museum and see a picture of myself on the wall. A lot of photos that end up on museum walls are of people who didn’t know they were being photographed. I don’t need to be the primary subject- I’d be content in the back of a crowd shot. I just think it would be fun to find myself unexpectedly on display.
My museum dream hasn’t happened just yet. But yesterday, as I was discussing the Facebook F8 conference announcements, someone I was talking to said that the new Facebook timeline schematic reminded her of an Intel website called “The Museum of Me.” I had never heard of the Intel site and of course I had to check it out. Turns out, the Museum of Me is pretty cool. The website aggregates your Facebook content into a virtual “exhibit” about your life. It pulls photos, videos and even words from posts you have made over the years. Facebook’s new “Timeline” feature definitely touches on several of the same ideas: it is supposed to be a visual representation of your life. Both sites automatically populate your “life story” using Facebook content, but for your Timeline you will be able to edit it as you wish whereas the Intel site wraps it up into a finished presentation. The Intel site is really more about a visual experience than a place for you to go and document every single moment of your existence, whereas Facebook will let you edit what’s included to tell your story a certain way. I didn’t find a way to share my Intel “exhibit” with friends, and really the site is focused on providing a cool look at your interactions and how you portray yourself in the online world. Meanwhile Facebook, of course, is all about sharing info with friends.
I tried the Intel site a few times for kicks and got the same exhibit each time. I noticed that it doesn’t necessarily pull the content that is most used from your Facebook- during the “friends” section of my presentation I saw profile pictures for a lot of people I never actually interact with on Facebook (and also haven’t talked to in years in real life- hey there Facebook friends!). I really liked the map portion, as it was fun to see where I’ve hopped around over the years. And I got a good giggle out of the “words” portion since one of the strings of randomly aggregated text ended up spelling out “woo hoo cake!” I think that’s a pretty accurate representation of who I am, don’t you? In all fairness, another text string spelled out something like “google exodus hey” but let’s not get too picky here.
All in all, super cool website and worth your time to check out. I think about our online portrayals a lot, as evidenced by some of my other posts around here, and I find it fascinating to connect online profiles to real life identities. The “Museum of Me” certainly didn’t catch every little bit of my personality or interests, but it was a fun way to review some pictures and interactions from my life. And hey, if I can’t be in a real museum, at least I can be in a virtual one!
*Note that content is aggregated from your Facebook profile, so you have to give Intel permission to access your data in order to use the site. This doesn’t bug me, personally, but just a FYI if those sorts of things worry you.
** WordPress spell check just tried to tell me that “site” is not a word. Really?!?