What you post on Facebook says a lot about you. Are you a sourpuss who constantly vents about your boss? Or are you a narcissist obsessed with the selfie? But other than other people’s judgement, there’s really no way to measure yourself, to quantify the image you project.
Well, there wasn’t. Astroverb is a new project by Sosolimited, commissioned by the Creators Project, that parses your Facebook status updates, passes the words through a psychological filter, then creates a psychological profile of the results.
Using the semantic research of UT-Austin’s Cindy Chung, Astroverb classifies your status updates into editorialized archetypes: Abbreviator, Scholar, Utopian, Nihilist, Chronographer, Conformist, Blasphemer, and Extrovert, then places them on a radial graph. Upon scanning my feed, the software mentioned that I didn’t write the word “I” very often, but my updates did have a tendency to lean toward nihilism and chronography. (In other words, I have little faith in the world around me and like to share photos of the food I cook and eat.)
From the position of the six archetypes on this graph, the software draws you a “Morphogram.” It’s one part psychological infographic, one part personalized zodiac. And you can even 3-D print your result. “The Morphogram shape is simply meant to be a mystical talisman,” Soso’s John Rothenberg tells Co.Design. “It’s aesthetic, and not meant to be understandable as a direct representation of your Facebook wall. Contemplate it deeply and you will find truth in its form.”
In other words, Sosolimited has created something very strange, but potentially quite wonderful. It uses semantic research and software processing to quantify your personality, but then it shoehorns your personality into tropes, and then even gives you a horoscope based upon these admittedly “fallible” classifications. The designers seem to revel in the juxtaposition of science and mysticism (or math and humanity) at work. But why?
“Companies are constantly using these techniques, often without our explicit permission, to market goods and services to us,” Rothenberg writes. “Our goal was to explore tracking in an artistic sense, and to change the relationship we have with this technology. “