Digital Shadows and the Quieting of our Digital Voice

Sarah Perez points out that our digital shadows are starting to overtake the digital information we actively create for ourself.  That is pretty scary if you think about it!  The fact that one’s bank statements, credit card purchases and other personal information that one would most likely choose not to share(digital shadows) now has the potential to create more of a digital presence than say our blogs or our personal websites(digital footprints) certainly speaks to the changing digital landscape.  I can imagine myself in my rocking chair in about fifty years from now explaining to my grandkids that: “Back in the day, people controlled what information about them was put on the internet.  And people used to have this thing called free speech.”  I was shocked when I saw the following youtube clip of a poor man getting fired for making the mistake of sticking up for a politician who was critically shot on his facebook account.

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This sort of “digital” attack on one’s stream of conscience is disturbing to me.  Ten years ago the man in the video would have simply talked to a room full of people about the incident and nothing would of happened.  Or perhaps he would have used such technology as a telephone or an email to share his thoughts and there was probably a 99% chance that he wouldn’t be fired for those comments.  But since what he wrote on his facebook page is public to those he is simply “friends” with, it cost him his job.

We are certainly at a crossroads in the digital landscape.  Steven Anderson urges us to take care of our digital self, giving us the ultimatum to either take charge of our digital presence online or someone else gladly will.  He points out that having a space of your own as important, a blog like this for instance.  I have to agree with him, as the educational blogging I have been doing over the past couple of months has certainly helped to solidify my educational presence when someone “googles” my name.

Our digital footprints are who we are online: our social networks, blogs, photo sites along with all the other online sites we use.  I will agree with Steven Anderson’s call to take care of our digital self and to even go one step further: be wary as to what you “share” publicly with your friends.  Because one never knows how things will or will not be misinterpreted.

 

 

 

4 thoughts on “Digital Shadows and the Quieting of our Digital Voice

  1. Hi David,

    I enjoyed your post especially your last line about interpretation. For me I rely heavily on body cues and vocal intonation to understand meaning of what is being, in fact I would be tempted to say that they are just as important. Thus when it is taken away from me (ie in letters, blogs, e-mail, twitter) I always find myself more confused and wondering if there was hidden sarcasm or not. I know, I’ve been the victim of misinterpreting what someone else wrote and also the victim of having someone else misinterpret what I’ve written. I think it will be interesting to see if the language used on the internet will evolve to help people with the problem of interpretation.

  2. Hi David,
    Thanks for your post. As usual you write with clarity and fluidity. The concept of digital misinterpretation is an interesting one. Brendon raised a good point. I think the earliest I can recall to be misinterpreted stems from emailing. Without actually seeing people’s facial features, intonations or context, one can be misinterpreted. Since English is such a “non-verbal language” (I hope that makes sense!) I wonder if misinterpretation is more a western problem rather than an eastern one? I think it was mentioned in one of the videos we saw that since we our so new to having a digital presence, people should be exercising more tolerance of mistakes.
    Take it easy,
    T

  3. I’ve been the victim of misinterpreting what someone else wrote and also the victim of having someone else misinterpret what I’ve written. I think it will be interesting to see if the language used on the internet will evolve to help people with the problem of interpretation.

  4. It certainly is important to take care of our digital footprint and to be aware of what we’re sharing – even in spaces that we consider to be private. How are we teaching these skills to students? Is it our responsibility to do so?

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