Data scrobbling and identity/mystery

Back in about 08 or 09 I joined and at the time music scrobbling very much appealed to me. The idea that an algorithm could take my data, crunch it, then tell me something about myself that I couldn’t see; in the vague hope that something would emerge from the Big Data and the algorithm.

At some point I gave up on the not insignificant commitment to perfect scrobbling – catching everything I listened to. About the same time I gave up on the idea of data crunching algorithms telling me anything about myself worth knowing.

Zadie Smith:

“I am dreaming of a Web that caters to a kind of person who no longer exists. A private person, a person who is a mystery, to the world and—which is more important—to herself. Person as mystery…”

Sometime between then and now that idea – being a mystery, even to myself (I certainly don’t know precisely who I am) really took hold.

There’s a great line in an episode of Mad Men where Don Draper tells his daughter Sally, who is going through a period of older sibling anxiety over her brother Eugene:

“He’s only a baby, and we don’ t know who he is yet, or who he’s going to be.”

In that sense, we are all babies – always babies.