Just like Goldilocks in Goldilocks and the Three Bears, we all leave digital footprints as we continue to use social media and other modern technologies. What does your digital footprint look like, and is it something that you're proud of? Thinking deeper about the concept of being digitally tracked at almost all times in our modern society, does that make you uncomfortable or do you care at all?
I’m sure you’ve heard of the children’s story about Goldilocks and the Three Bears; a little blonde girl wanders into a house in the middle of the woods belonging to a family of bears who are out for the day, and she makes herself right at home by going through and using their things. First she rummages through the bears’ kitchen, sneaking a taste of each of their porridges to decide which one is just the right temperature for her to devour, then she jumps in and out of each of the bears’ beds to decide which one is the comfiest before snuggling up for a nap. As Goldilocks snoozes away, the family of bears come home to find a trail of half-eaten porridge and chaos that leads them right to the bedroom where they find the cheeky little intruder. Why on earth am I telling you children’s fairy tales? Well, perhaps it’s because you and I are more like little Goldilocks than you’d think…
Even though you may not try to or be aware of it, everything that you do has an in-erasable digital footprint, like you’re Hansel and Gretel dropping digital breadcrumbs as you scroll through the online world. These data trails can provide a lot of information on what you’re doing and where you are in the world; as explained in a podcast titled Digital Breadcrumbs with Dr. Elisa Oreglia, this information can be collected through enabled location services or analytics engines within social apps, your online banking card when making a purchase, or even just a simple Google search. If you use the internet, which I know you do because you’re reading this right now, this fact affects you in one way or another, and you too have your own trail of digital footprints. It really makes you think: what kind of trail am I leaving behind? Thinking about that deeper, I made a little infographic that illustrates my personal online self, which consists of different aspects of me: the filmmaker, the networker, the writer, and the stalker. I feel that these four kinds of categories sum up who I am online, which isn’t too scary, I guess, but I still feel like the internet knows more about me than I remember telling it. With that in mind, how would you sum up your online identity in four categories? Are they something you can be proud of? One way that I like to check up on my digital footprint is by punching my name into the Google search bar and seeing what comes up (this works well for me because I have a fairly unique name, I can’t promise this will work for everyone). Last time I checked, searching “Makena Leyh” on Google will pull up my portfolio of written articles for Simon Fraser University’s newspaper, The Peak, along with my Facebook account, some film screenings that my work has been a part of, and some scholarships that I have been awarded. Honestly, Google is kind of making me look good by highlighting my achievements and showcasing my art, so I don’t mind the breadcrumbs that I’ve dropped at all!
Thinking deeper about the concept of being digitally tracked at almost all times in our modern society, does that make you uncomfortable or do you care at all? Personally, I can see both sides of the coin: it’s nearly impossible to achieve any real privacy in today’s day and age, but if no one has privacy anyways, then does it matter? I don’t know. I’m a Gen Z baby born in 2003, and I think growing up in such a technologically driven time has really conditioned me and the rest of my generation to be fine with having little to no privacy; being watched or tracked has just been kind of normalized. I definitely can’t speak for everyone my age, but I do know that’s not an uncommon feeling among young people. At the end of the day, we’re all just a bunch of silly little creatures running around on a floating rock in outer space anyways, so why does it matter?