Thursday, August 11, 2011

Digital Shadows

This week we looked at the idea of Digital Shadows.
Your digital shadow is different to your Internet Footprint in that it is the involuntary information which accumulates on the web about you from a variety of sources. Ways of searching for your Digital Shadow include doing a Standard Google search, a Blind Search, and using a platform called Spezify. With the standard Google search you end up with a list of sites which mention your name depending on the formula which Google uses. With the Blind Search you get 3 lists from different search engines. The results vary in each list, as they use different algorithms to organise their links. I found Yahoo! gave me the best results for my name. The Spezify search engine arranges the results as a map of images which connect with the word which was entered in the search. I found this was not very forthcoming as to my particular search.

Also on topic was the idea of privacy and reputation. danah boyd (2008) talks about the sharing of personal information on social networks such as Facebook and notions of exposure and invasion (of privacy) and she highlights the importance of differentiating between the two concepts.

Daniel Solove (2007)talks about invasion of privacy in his book, The Future of Reputation Gossip, Rumor, and Privacy on the Internet. He talks about the dangers and longevity of information on the web. He also talks about the benefits of blogging on communication. He also talks about the idea of privacy vs too much privacy and the creation of reputation. False information can effect reputation quickly, Solove says.

When thinking about the topics of Digital Shadows, privacy and reputation, I wonder if we really need to be so worried about sharing information which anyone can find in a phone book, but then again, there is information you don't want all and sundry to be privy to. I think there is a fine line between creating a web presence and keeping yourself safe online. I think web users need to be careful with the kinds of things they post about themselves and be mindful that that information can be used by others in all kinds of ways, some not too savoury. But on the other hand you need to give out enough to facilitate communication, and build the reputation that you want.

danah boyd (2008). "Facebook's Privacy Trainwreck: Exposure, Invasion, and Social Convergence." Convergence, 14 (1)

Solove, D., (2007). How the Free Flow of Information Liberates and Constrains Us, in The Future of Reputation: Gossip, Rumor and Privacy on the Internet. Available:

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