DIGITAL IDENTITY AND FOOTPRINT

This digital age has made information accessible to all and sundry. It is very simple to gather information on people without much difficulty once they have a digital identity. It has, therefore, become crucial for people who use the internet one way or the other to model good behaviour. This is because it can make and unmake a person.

In recent times, social media has become a place of doom for most people. This is because people hide behind their cameras digging information on others to harm them. Others also hide behind their cameras to spread negativity, which affects peoples’ self-image and self-esteem. Thus, it important for one to live a positive digital footprint to avoid social media trolls and digital brutality.

In a TED Talk by Ron Johnson, he shares the story of Justine Sacco, a communications executive for IAC, whose life gets ruined because of one tweet which she intended to be a joke.

Justine lost her job, and self-image because of one bad tweet. One thing that has become powerful in this digital age is hashtags. People can voice out their dislike of a situation by creating one hashtag that can destroy a life. In this example, the most used hashtag was  #HasJustineLandedYet. People were on Twitter waiting to see her fall.

This culture of shaming has become common on the internet. It is as if there is always a mob ready to attack the next unfortunate social media person that falls prey to such a situation. I googled Justine Sacco, and ninety-nine percent of the information that popped up was about the Twitter post. This one post left her with a negative digital identity that is stuck with her forever.

Cyberbullying and online harassments are real, and Monika Lewinsky’s experience is no different. Even though there was less technology at her time, my search after listening to her story led me straight to her affair saga. Monika, just like Justin is also bullied without mercy.

In a previous post, I mentioned how most people only present an ideal self on Instagram and Snapchat by posting awesome pictures with great captions. Behind most of these posts are troubled people. For example, no one considered Madison Holleran to be suicidal because her online self portrayed a bright and perfect girl. Most people have double images.

I cyber sleuth a course mate, and I like the digital footprint she is leaving behind. Although it didn’t seem much, the little showed positivity. She shares less of herself out there and only puts things related to her work and school. She had Facebook, Twitter and a blog.

From the little personal information I found on Twitter, Facebook and her blog, I can say that she is building a positive self digital image and also being cautious of the information she puts out there. This exercise gave me a sense of how we are putting ourselves out there. Thus, it is crucial to model good behaviour digitally while staying safe.

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