Digital Footprint

Friday, 26 May 2017

I have recently started to dip my toe into the formidable and treacherous world of dating and dating apps. And it has really made me think about this generation and the difference between dating in an age where the internet wasn't a thing and now; where you literally cannot escape social media. I find it fascinating that you can go on a date and the person could literally find out so much about you from your social media, before you even open your mouth. Fascinating and bloody terrifying. And this is just me and my tiny little blog and social media following, what about the influencers with bigger followings, how do they do the dating thing? How aware do we need to be about our digital footprint?

I've recently taken my instagram off private. I've stopped working as a support worker where my clients could have inappropriately stalked me and being a blogger I like to leave pretty links to my insta on here a lot. But this has also allowed me to be casually stalked by people I'm talking to on dating apps. On Tinder there's an actual place on your profile where you can link your Instagram, no thank you; I don't want creepy boys looking at my pics and judging my theme. Now obviously it's maybe a good idea if you're taking dating seriously and want to show that you're not a cyborg or a catfish, but for someone who is casually dipping their toe into these treacherous and estranged waters, its just too far for now. 

I've also been thinking about this blog and who reads it. Obviously whenever you post anything on social media you need to be prepared for people to see it, that's the prime reason you post it in the first place (oh those narcissistic tendencies). But I think you kind of forget who is actually going to be looking at it. The other day at work someone told me they read my blog and it really caught me off guard, thinking that this person doesn't really know anything about me outside the workplace but that was a nieve thought. Of course people are going to read it, it's the top line in my instagram bio and I'm glad people are reading it obviously, it's why I write it. But it makes me think about the fact that this person now knows more about me than I do about them and obviously if I do some sufficient stalking I would be able to find out the same amount of information and I'm not scared or offended by it, they're a lovely person (hi there if you're reading). But it just makes you think. 

I don't know how larger bloggers and influencers do it on the daily. It must be so strange to start a Youtube channel and then people from your old school start watching you and remembering who you were like as a person. It must be so bizarre to know that these people have a strange kind of power over you because they know more about you than you know about them. It must be so conflicting and difficult for much more open influencers for example Dodie Clark to open up so much to her audience knowing that there are guaranteed to be acquaintances she met one time in a pub or past relationships, or even future relationships. Dating must be interesting, I recently watched a Lucy Moon video where she perfectly summed up the experiences of going on casual dates and them knowing more about her because of her social media profile and them kind of having a one-up on her because they know more information. They have this idea in their head of you before you even meet them and that must be very scary, I can't even imagine. But obviously people must get past that thought process or larger influencers wouldn't be in relationships. 

I think using these kind of apps like tinder allows you to become much more aware of your own profiles and how you present yourself on social media and with millennials especially I think it's something we need to be extra aware of. Some of our digital footprints are the biggest the internet has ever seen because we have grown up with it. Most of us have had Facebook since we were around 10 or 11 and that profile has built up and up and up, there is piles of data surrounding you and what you used to be like verses what you are now. And I'm not saying this is a bad thing because obviously, every person you're going to date will have some kind of digital footprint, but I think ours are bigger than others and that can be a dynamic that needs to be thought about. I think privatising is a good thing but if you're wanting to promote your blog or channel, you have to be aware that some distant friend's mum might be reading it. And that's fine Janice, read my blog all you like, just don't think you know me more as a person okay?

I think what I'm trying to get across is that in this day and age we are all obviously going to have a larger presence on social media and although it's great to be able to look at who you're going to be meeting on a cute date, they will be doing the same to you. And that's all fine and harmless, if you trust them, it might even be a talking point. But all I'm going to say is if you choose this open internet life, just be aware that it probably isn't just strangers reading your posts. Your digital footprint is bigger than you think. 

How do you feel about your digital footprint?


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