If I’m being completely honest I find it terrifying to be living in a world where digital footprints are almost unavoidable. Our children are growing up in a world where they document EVERYTHING! As a teacher in middle school I am consistently trying to communicate to my students that social media should not be their sounding board nor diary and that no matter who promises them what regarding the pictures that they send or what app they use to do it, there will always be a way for someone that has ill intentions to get a hold of such material if they really want to. Looking back I am so incredibly thankful that the majority of my upbringing did not include any form of technology and that while I was in that every so fragile phase of adolescents AOL was just in its infancy with that awful dial up tone being something that we still got excited about. However, even now as an adult I see posts that my peers or friends from the past make and I wonder if they even realize how they are branding themselves or even worse, their children.
While gallivanting through various search engines using my name to track down elements of my digital footprint I found not one, but two old Twitter accounts that I had forgotten I’d started and barely used. Neither are too incredibly damning but neither represent me as the woman that I’ve worked so hard to become over the past few years. I also found links to my Facebook and Instagram, both of which I have fairly stringent private settings on and am quite selective of who I add and what I post. I also found several pictures of myself under images. All of them were appropriate and either linked me to current or past employment entities or my social media account. I also found that there are several women across the world that share my same name including more than one college athlete and a blogger in the UK.
The element that I found to be the most disturbing when performing this search was the amount of resources that are available for other people to create accounts and access my information. There was one website that featured my current address and my last three addresses. The entire house number and street name were not published publicly, you had to create an account to do so but as I looked into it you also had to create an account to have this information removed. Sites such as these unnerve me a great deal though I know that even without such sites someone who really wants to know this information would get it someway or somehow.