In many of my past posts, I tend to pull examples from childhood. Whether it be from parental love or nostalgia, this piece is no different in that vein, and if you have read the title to this piece, you probably have an idea of where this might be going. However, I think, like our child versions, we believe one thing to be true and find out differently in the end. It’s not a matter of right or wrong; it’s a matter of perception.
As a child, teacher, and parent, I LOVE Schoolhouse Rock. In fact, I probably know every word to most of the songs, even the “newer” science songs since my girls love to watch these DVDs in the car on long trips. One song in particular came to mind as I was researching this week. Here are the lyrics:
“For years this legend has been told
Of a creature seldom seen
He leaves a footprint so immense
It could make a grown man scream
Sasquatch, Bigfoot, Yeti
He goes by all those names
But now there’s something scarier
And our world’s not quite the same
There are beasts who are leaving footprints
That make Bigfoot’s track look small…
You gotta learn what to do and what to watch
Don’t be a carbon Sasquatch” (Dorough, 2009)
While this song focuses on our carbon footprints, I couldn’t help but see its relevance today as we navigate the digital world. Couldn’t we replace the word ‘carbon’ with ‘digital”? What does your personal digital footprint look like? Does it match the perception match the person? Have we left a Sasquatch-sized print? One that we wished was a myth? Or one that is completely non-existent?
Though we’d like to think we could stay invisible, this is just not possible in our current society, which is why it is so important to examine and manage your digital footprint before irreparable damage is done. We have to stay vigilant in what we “say” and do online as it becomes who we are, for better or worse, despite the entire truth of it or the spin others may put upon it.
That being said. I was curious about mine own, and in my personal search, I
was relieved and a bit dismayed that I had to search a bit more specifically to find myself. Don’t get me wrong. I’m in good company. “Angela Wagner” is a doctor, a life coach, an athlete, a yogi, an engineer, a lawyer, etc., and there’s me, a teacher and doctoral student. I found all of my profiles, my blog, website, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. only after adding my state to the search equation. This got me to thinking about how common my name is in the U.S. and decided to check out the website www.howmanyofme.com.
There are 439 people in the U.S. alone with my name, so I can attribute part of this to the commonness of my name, which makes me wonder about the ease with which some folks can leave a positive print effortlessly with a unique name. Or could it just as easily leave a footprint that is harder to erase? What are your thoughts?
Either way, “we gotta learn what to do and what to watch…don’t be a [digital] Sasquatch.”
Dorough, B. (2009). Don’t be a carbon sasquatch. On Schoolhouse Rock- Science Rocks!. Buena Vista: Buena Vista Home Entertainment.