Dr. Elisa Oreglia defines digital trail as a “trace you leave behind you. It’s almost like Breadcrumbs. Sometimes intentionally, sometimes unintentionally when you use a mobile phone; but also when you use a computer, or when you use really any kind of technology that has a chip in it” (Pod Academy, 2016).
When I think of the term digital trail, my mind automatically wanders to how the data I produce through social networks, apps and wifi are all used to commodify my identity to third-party corporations or sites. We are constantly being told to be cautious of our digital trial and usage, but there is no solution to having our identities and data protected from us. For any change to occur, we need stricter restrictions, governmental change of where our data goes, and transparency that is digestible from a consumer’s point of view.
I feel helpless as a technology user to protect my identity and data, and it is nearly impossible to stop using digital platforms. However, we can limit our usage of social media, but when data is meant to be created, taken away, and commodified from us, it seems helpless to change. I am not an avid poster on social media; the app I use the most is Tik Tok. TikTok is a controversial app because of privacy and data regulations. Still, it is also the most entertaining, and the algorithm makes me feel seen with the content it pushes on me, which is scary because they seem to know my inner world very well.
Everything is digital nowadays, but I do not trust having my digital credit card information on my phone even though it makes paying for things more accessible. Ironically, I use online banking since it is an easy way to track my spending and pay bills on time, but something about having my credit card linked makes me anxious. The need for convenience and digitalization has created blurry boundaries of the information I use, trust, and rely on.
Pod Academy. (2016, May 3). Digital breadcrumbs: The data trail we leave behind us. Pod Academy. http://podacademy.org/podcasts/digital-breadcrumbs-our-data-trail/