Process Posts

Digital Breadcrumbs

Process Post #10

Data helps inform and educate. But at what cost? What is your personal feeling about data trails? Do you try to minimize your footprint or have you thrown in the towel?

Before this class, and our lecture from last week, I honestly hadn’t given data trails much thought. I knew they existed, but I don’t think I was aware of to what extent and how many platforms they can be left on. An immediate example I can think of is the daily clicking of “accept cookies” that I do, without even knowing what cookies are, or what I am accepting. 

When thinking of the question “Do you try to minimize your footprint or have you thrown in the towel?”, I wouldn’t even know to answer it, because as I mentioned, I don’t really think about it. Reflecting now, this is both embarrassing and ignorant of me. Should I be more diligent? With that said, I guess if I had to answer this question, it would be the latter, as I clearly don’t pay enough attention to try and minimise my footprint. 

Nonetheless, now that I am more aware of what data trails or “digital breadcrumbs” are, I think I will be a lot more wary and apprehensive with the way I use technology (Pod Academy, 2016). I have understood that a digital trail “is a trace you leave behind you…sometimes intentionally, sometimes unintentionally” (Pod Academy, 2016, 02:50). It has come to my attention that this happens “when you use really any kind of technology that has a chip in it” (Pod Academy, 2016, 03:06). This can be a computer, a cellular device, and even a debit or credit card. With that said, we give “retailers, banks and various other organisations information about our daily movements” (Pod Academy, 2016, 02:25).

I guess this is why I will get advertisements on Instagram for things I looked up on google. But how about when it something that I have only spoken about out loud and not searched? That is when it gets weird. This is where I ask the same questions the Pod Academy podcast (2016) raised; “can [this information} be used against us?” and “should [I] be worried?” (1:40-1:5).

Although it makes sense that digital trails exist, and although I acknowledge that they are able to inform and educate companies and creators, etc., it is still a bit weird to think about your every move being tracked and traced. More specially, it is the It is the “unintentional” trail that we leave behind that makes me feel uneasy. I mean, I merely click “ok” or “agree” or “share” out of pure efficiency, similar to accepting cookies, without evening knowing what I am agreeing to. How many companies and people know my every move and search?  

As stated in the Pod Academy podcast (2016), most people they talked to said they have Global Positioning System off on their phone, however, this was “mainly to save battery on their phone. Not out of concern that their location may be visible” (8:00). This is something I can attest to as I have turned this off on several apps only because I know it drains my battery and sucks up my data. I never once thought about location tracking. My ignorance and habit here are something to think about. Nevertheless, it gives me peace of mind knowing that I have had them off. 

In the end, I feel like there is no way around digital trails, “its constant” (Pod Academy, 2016, 4:00) and the traces “can really be anywhere in the world”, “so, you are not really sure of where they will be” (Pod Academy, 2016, 4:56). Essentially, it is the “it’s the presence [we] are leaving on the internet” (Pod Academy, 2016, 6:32).


Pod Academy. 2016. “Digital breadcrumbs: The data trail we leave behind us.”

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