Assessing the Value of Brief Automated Biographies

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New systems have been introduced that support the visualisation and sharing of personal digital data, but relatively little work has been done to establish how such systems support reminiscence and personal reflection. In this paper, we explore Intel’s Museum of Me, a tool that collates and presents Facebook data in the form of a virtual museum, by asking how such an automated biography might support personal reflection and a process of life review. We supported users in their creation of personal virtual museums and interviewed them about their experiences, using a theoretical framework that highlighted the importance of personal narratives and life review in identity formation and psychological well-being. Our participants enjoyed the experience and welcomed the opportunity for reminiscence, but considered their resulting videos to be rather shallow representations of self, reflective of some of the more trivial exchanges and relationships that can come to dominate social media. We argue that social media in its current form is not well suited to support a meaningful life-review process.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-49
JournalPersonal and Ubiquitous Computing
Issue number1
Early online date17 Dec 2015
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2016


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