Digital Footprint: From a web of pages to a web of streams

Our digital world is changing as rapidly as it is expanding. When the internet was first introduced to our world, the main concern was understanding websites and their proficiency in this new landscape of media. This was the first time ever that we had an online format to say anything and we were just figuring what to create for this new outlet. The idea of dialoguing was not even part of the picture of the internet for we were just learning to how to speak in this new way. Yet as the internet grew and the world explored new ways to communicate with each other, content management systems started to appear.

Flickr was the first content management system for photos and also the first inclination towards interactive social community networks. The world was given the opportunity to comment and favorite the content posted on Flickr with the artist themselves. Then Youtube was introduced under the same format as Flickr but with the management being around videos. Purely social networking systems were also surfacing so that as individual, we could have a identity online and communicate with others online via their online identities. We went from having sites representing us, to having images, videos and personal information creating our online identities.
At one point our identities were a centralized idea, housed wherever our internet ‘address’ was. Now our identity is housed in smaller bite-sized pieces all along the map of the internet. We were the curators of our own digital identity, using the videos, photos and information from our lives to create it. The videos that I favorited on Youtube or the photos that I uploaded to Flickr spoke louder about who was I than one static website could ever say. The internet has turned into a massive playground of information cultivating, self-identity, discovery and expression.
We are seeing the static nature of sites evolving into the open-platform of blogs for the nature of the internet is evolving as well. Blogs tend to be a personal look into a person, place or thing with a centralized theme around the writing. Micro-blogging is a relatively new term evolved from the process of blogging, which is creating written digital content. The construct of minimizing blogging for the internet has made this an impressionable part of our digital stream and footprint. The most common micro-blogging format is Twitter, with over 22 million users creating miniature blogs in a stream-like format. Read individually as tweets or collectively as a stream, these bite-sized pieces help to make up who you are online.
The most common complaint of the current evolution of the internet is the inability to ‘keep up’. I don’t believe it is potentially possible for all of us to keep up with the fast changes that are happening on a daily, sometimes hourly basis. All of the expanded ability of different content management systems, search options, data, and social networking can create a false sense of convenience at a high price of time investment. The beauty to this current state of evolution is that the internet is creating ways for it to work for you and not just having you work constantly at its demand. I like to call this new technology ‘robots’. The robots act as filters that listen to the internet so that we can continue creating dialogue in a concise format that is not time-consuming.
The idea of robots or filters can be pretty confusing. First we are given the freedom of an online format. Then we allowed to create information, content and art which can be quite overwhelming. The next logical step would the aide of a filter that helps sorts through all the information, content and art so it is not all viewed as noise. Noise is literally when a dialogue becomes to saturated; we are unable to hear the really important stuff. A great filter that I use to listen to the Internet is a dashboard system called Netvibes. This system basically lets you pick out the streams on whatever person, place or thing that you want to listen to and delivers them into one format. Netvibes is completely customizable so the internet can work for you.
Growth is a natural state of evolution even within technology. The internet is something that almost everyone has some sort of interaction with on a daily basis. We email, tweet, blog or upload photos and videos to our friend, family and co-workers. Though it is a big place the internet is here for us. If we are able to understand it better, understand our digital footprint, and how to listen to the internet, our entire online experience will be amazing. If the internet works for you then having access to all of mankind’s knowledge at your fingertips, isn’t a very scary thought at all. 🙂

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