For content creators, you could say that analytics are the key to knowing and growing your audience. But for the audience? Well, that’s a different subject.
For audience members, analytics means that our every movement, action, and choice is tracked. Pod Academy (2016) notes that most, if not all, the applications we use require our location information. We “willingly” give up our location for social media, digital payments, and more. We’re tracked by security cameras and the cookies on our browser. Scary, right?
What is a digital trail?
Something to think about is what is a digital trail?
A digital trail, according to Dr. Elisa Oreglia (as cited in Pod Academy, 2016), is made up of the remnants—breadcrumbs, you could call them—that you leave behind when engaging with the digital world. You may not mean to leave a trail behind, but it is just something that comes with the territory.
Anytime you use your phone, your computer, your credit or debit card, or anything that has a chip and is traceable, you are sprinkling your breadcrumbs around. But why do or should we care about breadcrumbs?
Why care about breadcrumbs?
Breadcrumbs are the reason your Pinterest feed suggests to you everything that you love and find aesthetically pleasing; they’re the reason why your TikTok For You Page is catered so well to your interests and likes; the reason why most random (yet perfectly-suited) ads can predict our next purchases; and so on.
Beyond this, companies and whoever else has access to our information can find out our political preferences, financials, and other private data.
A great question for us to consider now is, what’s happens next? Will our trails helps or harm us as we move into the future?
It might not be something we can avoid, but it’s something we can consider the next time we pick up our phones and other devices. For those of us (me) using applications like Google Analytics to track our website’s audience, think about the information you have in your hands. It’s more than you know.
Pod Academy. (2016, May 3). Digital breadcrumbs: The data trail we leave behind us. https://podacademy.org/podcasts/digital-breadcrumbs-our-data-trail/