Our Digital Footprints and the Paths They Shows

My husband is in the military, so my family has experienced long periods of separation due to deployments, field exercises, training, etc. With modern forms of communication, we are able to stay better connected than in generations past, which is both a blessing and a curse. During periods of separation, I always have my phone with me anticipating a call, a text, email, or video call, regardless of the time of day. It is exhausting and emotional. Can you imagine if previous generations waited by the mailbox 24 hours a day, seven days a week in anticipation of a letter?

As a general rule, anything placed on the internet creates a digital footprint and has the potential to exist forever. Your digital footprint is data created by your online activities and communications. It includes social media posts, articles you write (like this blog post), or things written about you (oh, those 5k race results), and passive activities such as websites collecting your IP address from your search history or GPS data collected while driving. Employers are now using an online background check, which includes social media, to screen potential new hires. Companies use cookies to understand what specific items you are considering on online stores to better market towards you.

During one deployment, my husband would email coloring pages to our networked printer for my son to find and color. Considering what we know about our digital footprint, it is strange to think that somewhere, forever will exist the data showing that an email of a coloring page was sent to our wifi enabled printer. I don’t know what it meant to the collector of the data, but to our family it meant love.

It is easy to think that how we communicate today versus a generation ago is ephemeral, but it runs much deeper than the few seconds it takes to send a text. I encourage you to send the card, write the note, share the pictures. The digital footprints you leave can forever show your love for someone, which is a beautiful path for others to find.

Send a card, share your pictures!

Rachel

BRDGD Founder and CEO

(www.rasmussen.edu/student-experience/college-life/what-is-digital-footprint/)

Posted in

Leave a Reply