Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Pew Internet & American Life Project

We all leave a trail behind us every time we log onto the internet. This trail is called our "digital footprint". "The more content we contribute to the public or semi-public corners of the Web" the larger our footprint becomes. You probably are not even aware of how large your digital footprint really is. I found it interesting that more than half of the people involved in this study do not worry about the amount of content on them that is available publicly or how personal this content may be. Most people do not think that they are interacting in any risky business when logging on to the Web. I personally am one of those "worried by the wayside" users of the internet. I'm most likely not careful enough when it comes to protecting my personal information. Now that I think about it, I post more intimate details than I think. On my Facebook, I post the city I live in, my birthday, my relationship status, my favorite movies and activities. Someone who logs onto my page could even figure out who my friends and family members are. I, in fact, share a lot of information on the Web. I Googled myself the other day after reading this write-up. My twitter name showed up (erinraelovesyou) second on the search engine list. I wouldn't consider this to be personal information, but I also searched Google images. On the first page, first line, there was a picture of me and my best friend. If it was as easy as a click to receive that much information on me, how easy is it to get other information on me? I'm sure I could type my name into the white pages and find my home address or something of that nature. So with one simple search someone could get a photo of me, my home address, and my twitter account. That is a little scary. Even though I have made all my online social networking pages private to those who are not my "friends", I don't feel like I'm being safe enough. Some of the people I friend are not always good friends. Some people I only know from class, or work. I don't really "know" them. These are things people, and I as well, don't think about when we are enjoying our time networking on the Internet. My conclusion to this is, be careful what you share. You never know who might be searching your name.

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