Your online profile is less a reflection of you than a caricature.
Whether you like it or not, commercial and public actors tend to trust the string of 1s and 0s that represent you more than the story you tell them. When filing a credit application at a bank or being recruited for a job, your social network, credit-card history, and postal address can be viewed as immutable facts more credible than your opinion.
But your online profile is not always built on facts. It is shaped by technology companies and advertisers who make key decisions based on their interpretation of seemingly benign data points: what movies you choose to watch, the time of day you tweet, or how long you take to click on a cat video.
Many decisions that affect your life are now dictated by the interpretation of your data profile rather than personal interactions. And it’s not just about advertising banners influencing the brand of the soap you buy—the same mechanics of profiling users and targeting messages apply to political campaigns and visa applications as much as supermarket metrics. When advertising looks like news and news look like entertainment, all types of content are profiled on the basis of your data.
So what story does your data tell about you?