Monday, 7 July 2014

Our Digital Footprint

A note from Joelle... 
I am a digital girl through and through. 
Born in early 1994, I saw technology evolve right in front of me and it was very exciting.
From cassette tapes - VCR - pagers - CD Roms - Sony Walkmans - floppy disks - USB sticks - portable mobile phones - digital cameras - DVDs - downloads - touchscreen - MP3 players - laptops - iPods - tablets - iPhones - my generation (and those before me) have seen it all!

We all turn to technology/the Internet for different reasons...
From a young age, I was always told (by mainly family/friends/randomers) that I have a 'science-mid' and that I am not that creative because of it. To be real with you right now, that seriously hurt my feelings. Because to me, they were basically saying that I can't be interested in nature/geology/science and writing/music/fashion at the same time. I was only allowed to focus on one.

With that in my mind, I decided to prove that I can be both sciencey and artsy by writing two novels by the age of 14, three plays, make my own cushions, pass my Grade 8 Flute exam at 18 and my proudest achievement... creating this very blog you are reading now.
As a depressed, anxious and paranoid 15 year-old girl, I found an online outlet that made me so happy and this blog is my digital footprint. Yes, I make typos, use bad language occasionally and ramble on, but it's mine and mine alone!
It might not have a huge impact on the world or change thousands of lives, but it changed mine - for the better.

What I didn't realise was that once you put your name and views out there for the world to see, it is there forever. Friends, family and current/future employers can access crazy amounts of information about me with just a few taps and clicks.
It kind of freaked me out a bit when I went for a catch up drink with a friend last week. I wanted to tell her what I'd been getting up to since I last saw her, but she already knew as she read it on my blog. I don't know why that freaked me out, but it just did.

It is easy to turn a blog into a bitchy rant about everything/one you hate and choose to express yourself negatively. But in this world, negativity seems to stick out more than positivity and as it's on the web, it has the ability to resurface and bite you on the arse when you least expect it.

Technology is getting more complex but also easier for the average person to operate. It's a no-brainer that more people what a slice of the virtual action too. Thousands of people a day are starting blogs, YouTube channels, Vines, Instagrams etc. because they see an exciting new word that they want to tap into.

I think it's great that more people (regardless of age, race, sex, sexuality, class) can now use technology express their creativity!
However, more and more people are taking advantage of this 'Virtual Freedom' and are creating some pretty disgusting things such as hate forums and trolling.
I guess you can argue that they have a right to do that under Freedom of Speech. But let's think about this logically for a minute:
The last time I checked, 'speech' meant actual face-to-face interaction with the movement of the lips and vocal muscles in the neck. It will never be the same as using your fingers to type words on a keyboard - that is not speech... it is typing on a keyboard.

We have a digital footprint that will remain with us forever (even if we try to delete it!!). With that in mind, the choice is simple: we can either use our personal space to spread hatred, jealousy and nonsensical bile
OR, you could create something that you are proud of: a happy, honest and inspirational place where people can flock to when they need it.
Both are extremely powerful, but only one will help change the world for the better.
The choice is yours and yours alone.

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