Discover how the Internet sees you with the Life Online Mirror

Discover how the Internet sees you with the Life Online Mirror

Summary: Does what you do online reflect your true personality? Using data from 6.5 million people, the online mirror reckons it knows your online personality very well indeed.


The National Media Museum in Bradford in the UK has launched an interactive 'Life Online Mirror' aimed to show you the ‘scientifically and academically rigorous breakdown of your personality, providing a unique digital reflection of your true self’.

Unlike Intel’s Museum of Me which interprets your social life and creates a visual archive, the Museum has based its Mirror on a personality system and back end big data.

National Media Museum Mirror
Credit: National Media Museum

The Museum developed the online mirror with Cambridge University researchers. It uses a personality analysis system, used by academics and compared against a database of 6.5 million people gathered by researchers at the Cambridge University Psychometrics Centre.

By comparing results with this database the tool claims that it can give you a scientifically accurate breakdown of your personality based upon your Internet behaviour.

The 'Big 5' personality system was created over 20 years ago, and is used by academic psychologists for varied purposes from personality research to recruitment for business.

The tool asks for information from your Facebook profile, or your answers to questions and it claims to predict your personality with over 80% accuracy. It assesses your personality using five key characteristics -- openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness and stability.

It encourages you to create your own ‘reflection’ in the virtual mirror and says:

‘You’ll have the chance to see if our predictions of your personality match how you see yourself in the real world. We hope this will encourage you to think a little differently about how you use the web and how this reflects your true self’.

Of course, I had to give it a try

There are five questions to answer before I could get to see my online mirror. Question one asked about the online news sources that I read.

Question two asked me which celebrities I would follow on Twitter – and after choosing Stephen Fry and Richard Branson -- the tool surmised that I was ‘probably’ male.

Question three asked about the music I would download, and after receiving my answers, correctly guessed that I was over 26 years old. Question four asked which social networks I used regularly.

The answer suggested that my ‘agreeableness score is below average’. Yikes. Perhaps one of my social networks indecated that my Internet behaviour was competitive and assertive.

Question five asked about the technology brands that I liked or used and guessed that my extraversion score is above average. In fact the mirror suggested that I was friendly. Friendly, competitive and assertive based on my answer to question four.

The results showed my personality in different areas as a percentage against the database, gauging how open, conscientious, extroverted, agreeable and stable it perceived me to be.

Was the mirror correct? It was probably only 70 per cent correct. But it was a nice bit of fun for the end of the week and also interesting to discover what a query from the big dataset would return for me.

Topic: Social Enterprise

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  • This thing is kind of weird

    The "individual" questions were pretty off base. What I mean is where it asks you a question then immediately makes a judgement about you. Most of those were wrong for me. Oddly enough though, the description of my composite scores after the entire thing was over was almost spot on.
  • I Just Checked It Out

    I just looked at it, and there was no applicable answer to the first question, so I couldn't complete the questionnaire. I don't have a Facebook profile, so that's definitely out. I guess I'm an enigma to this program.
  • Doesn't appear to work on Opera.

    Maybe it's something in my content-blocking file
    • Useless

      Lists primarily UK-centric choices for news sources.

      I don't follow anyone on Twitter (for the same reason i couldn't have it use my Facebook profile - i refuse to have anything to do with either)

      The only celebrity listed i MIGHT follow was Stephen Fry.

  • Data harvesting

    Obviously a silly "scientific" experiment where they collect personal identifiable data about you. No thanks
    • If You Use the Questionnaire...

      If you use the questionnaire, I don't see an entry that identifies you in any way. Perhaps they could track your IP address, but that seems about it. Unless of course you think that the data you enter is enough for them to track you down.
  • useless trvia

    I don't read any of those news sources and it foces me to take one... don't folow anyone on twitter either...
  • Rather a waste of time...

    It asked, which celebrities I (would) follow on Twitter. I don't follow celebrities on Twitter: I don't need to litter my timeline with their guff and I'm not a fanaholic of *anybody*. It asked about my favorite music downloads: none of my favorites were listed. WTF,O?
  • If they use this to judge potential employees that is scary

    I am a male almost 60 years old but the site thinks I am a younger female; go figure. I think the test it too short and the options too narrow for them to make a real determination. The results were much better than I am though so I can't complain.