Another dot in the blogosphere?

Digital identities, footprints, and shadows

Posted on: April 17, 2012


Video source

This tongue-in-cheek video is titled Google Me. While it seeks to entertain, there is a serious message hidden in between the frames. It is about managing our digital identities, footprints, and shadows.

I distinguish between the three. A digital identity is like a passport, identity card or driver’s licence. It is official and you have it to prove you are who you are. We establish our digital identities with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, blogs, e-portfolios, etc.

A digital footprint is something you know you leave behind but are not quite concerned about. Depending on where you walk, the footprints may be temporary (if you walk in sand) or almost permanent (if you walk in concrete). Browser cookies are like that and these digital footprints allow you to be tracked.

A digital shadow is something you cannot avoid as long as you stand or move in the light. As we navigate the Internet, we cast a shadow that changes its shape depending on where we are. Some shadows are accurate while others are distorted. We cast our shadows in media sites (photos and videos of you), forums (your opinions), and review sites (opinions of you).

A recent study revealed that 38% of children in the USA on Facebook were not even 12-years-old. Another study estimates that 89% of USA employers use social media to recruit employees [PDF]. Who is really teaching kids how to manage their digital lives?

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