Do You Have A Digital Tattoo? What Story Does It Tell?

“Tattoos tell you a lot of stories.” ~Juan Enriquez

This week I have been busy reading and viewing different articles and videos that have explored the topics digital identity and digital citizenship. During my search I came across Juan Enriquez‘s TED Talk.  This video had me reflect on many of the assigned readings, viewings, and my classmates blog posts that I have read for my ECI 832 class over the last few weeks.

At the beginning of the TED Talk Juan caught my attention when he started off by saying “lets take four subjects that go together big data, tattoos, immortality, and the Greeks.”  I was curious how he was going to link those four subjects together and how those subjects all were going to relate to his TED Talk called Your Online Life, Permanent As A Tattoo.  He went on to say that tattoos can shout and tell stories.  Juan asked the audience if they had any tattoos.  I began to think of my friends and family members that have a tattoo or have many tattoos.  Almost all of them have a tattoo that has a story or a reason behind why they got their tattoo.  Some people I know have birthdates or footprints/handprints of their children and grandchildren while others have a tattoo to symbolize the memory of a loved one that past away or it tells a story of a passion or a interest they have.  Over the past few years I have been contemplating on getting a tattoo on my left shoulder or somewhere of my back.  I picture my tattoo looking like a young girl with angel wings praying.  When or if I ever get the tattoo it will symbolize and tell my story of a memory or image that I had in my head when I was seven years old and sick in the hospital battling Necrotizing Fasciitis (Flesh Eating Disease).  When I was in the University Hospital in Saskatoon I remember seeing a little brunette girl with beautiful angel wings .  I felt that I had a guardian angel watching over me.  Even though it was twenty-one years ago I still have that vivid picture in my mind.

Do you have a tattoo? Does your tattoo tell a story?  Would people be able to tell your version of your story just by viewing your tattoo without you getting the opportunity to share with them and explain what your tattoo represents?

bar code tattoo

Photo Credit: absentreality via Compfight cc

Later on Juan  mentioned all the things that many people interact with such as Facebook, Twitter, Google, Linkedln, cell phones, GPS, Travel Advisor, etc. and how they turn out to be electronic tattoos.  He went onto state, “what if they provide as much information as who and what you are as any tattoo ever would?”  So what does this mean for you?  Now people can follow you and view your profiles through the use of technology and all of the different social media, apps, and cameras.  More than ever people need to be mindful of what they post and share online using the different forms of social media.  Every app downloaded, post, tweet, or picture shared begins to build and form your digital tattoo.  Everything that you share online becomes apart of your digital identity or your digital footprint.  When people view your posts, tweets, or pictures what story does it tell the viewers?  Everyone needs to be mindful of what they share or post because one decision can change their life.  I encourage you to watch Jon Ronson’s TED Talk How One Tweet Can Ruin Your Life.  In that video the viewers learn about Justine Sacco and her how a tweet has not changed just her digital identity, but the way people view Justine due to the online shaming.  In the end that one tweet led to Justine losing her job.  I know if I could not be a teacher anymore that it would change my identity completely and I would feel very lost.  Justine Sacco’s digital tattoo and footprint changed in an instant from just that one tweet.  I encourage you to read Kristina Boutilier’s post called Has your identity changed over the years?  I thought Jeffrey Rosen’s article on “The Web Means the End of Forgetting” that she discussed was very interesting.  I have had the same struggles as Kristina.  I also find is hard at times creating blog posts and putting your thoughts and feelings out there for the world to not only read, but critique as well.

 

 

“What if Andy Warhol had it wrong, and instead of being famous for 15 minutes, we’re only anonymous for that long?” ~Juan Enriquez

 

question mark picture

Photo Credit: nootriment via Compfight cc

During a exhibition Andy Warhol stated that “In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.”  Over the years Andy’s phrase has been tweaked and altered.  Through doing some reading I found an article that discussed how an artist named Banksy created a piece of art and on the piece it stated “In the future, everybody will be anonymous for 15 minutes.”  I agree with that quote more than ever as technology and social media has given people a format to post on and share to not only their friends and family, but to the entire world.  You do not have to be a celebrity or a professional athlete to have an audience or followers online now.  Just on Thursday night on Twitter I participated on the Fountas & Pinnell chat that explored Text Levels and if they are a tool or trouble.  During that chat Fountas & Pinnell @fountaspinnell quoted one of my tweets that I shared with the other people that were participating in the chat.  Fountas & Pinnell currently have 21.9K followers on Twitter.  That same evening on Twitter The 2 Sisters @gailandjoan retweeted three of my tweets from that very same chat.  They have 14.2K followers on Twitter.  One of those three tweets now has had 30 engagements so far and 1139 people have seen my Tweet.  Someone does not need to be famous to have a voice and to have their voice heard my hundreds and even thousands of people.  Since I engage online and social media I am no longer anonymous anymore.  As Juan mentions in his TED Talk it is not just your electronic tattoo, but facial recognition now.  I learned about a company called Face.com and how “the company had “discovered” 18 billion faces across its API and Facebook applications” and in 2012 this company sold to Facebook.

I wonder how many of the faces that Face.com have discovered are children’s faces?  What does facial recognition mean for child who are growing up in the digital age?

Last week I read two articles called Welcome to the online world and Digital diaries.  Both of the articles discussed children growing up in the digital world.  With many parents participating in different forms of social media their children are no longer anonymous at birth and some children are not even anonymous before they were born as many parents post ultra sound pictures.  Parents and other family members are the first people to start adding to their child’s digital identity as their posts start creating a digital tattoo or digital footprint for their child.  I am curious to see these children’s reactions when they get older and what their options will be on what pictures, posts, or tweets were shared about them.  So many children get embarrassed from that one picture that their parent points out in a family album, but now many family albums are digital and shared online so those embarrassing pictures maybe already shared with all their friends, family, and maybe even the world.  I enjoyed reading Jeannine Whitehouse’s blog post called What will you leave behind?  She brought forward many valid points about digital footprints and people’s digital identity.  I could relate to when Jeannine discussed how she has friends who share a lot online about their family and their children while others friends are more private.  I have friends that share daily about their family while I have some who do not feel comfortable sharing pictures of their children on social media.  I believe it is a personal choice for each family!

What are your beliefs about sharing pictures and information about children online?

 

At the end of Juan’s TED Talk he leaves the audience to ponder when he stated “because of electronic tattoos maybe all of you and all of us are very close to immortality as these tattoos will live far longer than our bodies will.”   Near the end of the TED Talk be begins discussing the different Greek lessons.  He  discusses with the audience about imagining being threatened by immortality as we are all threatened by immortality today because of digital tattoos.    After listening to the end of his presentation I began to make the connection with Maeve Duggan’s article called Proposed law would clarify who gets access to a deceased person’s digital accounts that I read for class.  When adults get older they often have a written document that outlines a beneficiary or have a written will that allows that person to chose who gets their money, valuables, and most importantly who will raise their child if both parents pass away.  Will people need to add in a component discussing their digital accounts in their wills as well?

As I was just finishing this blog post I came across a post called Two ways of thinking about social media: digital tattoos and virtual shadows from the TED Talk blog.  In the beginning of the post the person discussed being at a concert  and how many people were recording the show so they could view it later.  In the post it was questioned if people truly experienced the show in the first place because they were so busy recording it.  This reminded me of the conversations about being present in the moment and when Amy Scuka @AmyScuka shared a few weeks ago a great article that had a  photo of a crowd of people taking pictures while one lady had a smile on her the face enjoying the moment instead of seeing witnessing it through a phone or lens.  The article that Amy shared led to a great conversation! The TED Talk posts also took a closer look at two concepts: digital tattoos from Enriquez`s TED Talk and virtual shadow from Damon Brown`s TED Book, Our Virtual Shadow: Why We Are Obsessed with Documenting Our Lives Online.

Have you heard of the concept virtual shadow before???

There is always so much to explore and learn!  I am looking forward to creating a new blog post after I discover and learn more about virtual shadows. Please leave me a comment if you know of any good articles or videos that can provide me with more information about virtual shadows. 🙂

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3 Comments

  1. I really enjoyed this post Justine. Thanks for all the extra articles to further my learning. I think our online identity is like a tattoo and does stick with us forever and although we can try to remove it, it will take a lot of work. It is very empowering in a way that we are able to have a voice and be heard by such a large audience (like your tweet was) from the power of the internet. There is so much good that can happen from the internet and the connections we make, it is about using that power for good. I haven’t heard of the term virtual shadow, but it will definitely be something I will be looking into this week.

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  2. Thanks Kristina! I am glad that all the articles I posted have been helpful for you. It does take a lot of work to try to remove negative pieces of online identity. I agree that people can use the power of the internet for good. I am hoping to continue to find out more about virtual shadows this coming week since I have been busy finishing marking and completing my report cards. Let me know if you come across any articles about virtual shadows!

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  3. Pingback: How Is Social Media Impacting Childhood? | Justine Stephanson-Kyle's Blog

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