On Sunday January 31st, 2021, Chinouk hosted our third Therapy Session: Digital Footprint Workshop. Whether you are using social media a lot or more occasionally, they influence our life. Maybe even more than you know? In this workshop participants looked into their position as a user-consumer within your personal digital landscape. By investigating ‘scrolling behaviour’ while using new media platforms and its algorithms, in order to analyse your personal digital footprint, they try to find and highlight interrelated (subliminal) commercial structures. During the session participants translated their findings into something visually tangible, that reinterpreted their digital environment. Thereby enabling to reclaim some agency in the digital landscape. Something which is maybe more relevant than you think now...
What is a digital footprint?
One’s digital footprint contains information about a particular person that exists on the Internet as a result of their online activity. In abstract form, it is a unique set of traceable digital activities, actions, contributions and communications manifested on the Internet and through the use of digital devices.
Reflection participant Daniela:
"Considering your digital footprint as a creative resource is a great starting point of the workshop. It has sparked my interest in using it more effectively and more creatively. The problem is, that you can only play around with the parameters given by the system and within the limits of the system. I still don’t have a final answer to this question, but elements for further investigation. The workshop triggered many thoughts — and links to past work, since I have been doing quite extensive research on photography and image theory previously."
Work in progress participant Daniela
Reflection participant Scatha G.
"For the project, I narrowed my focus to the presentation of my Instagram saved posts and Instagram album of downloaded images, and the main Home page and Instagram Feed. I found continuity in the content and visual texture, imagery and style of my downloaded Instagram images and my direct feed. Interestingly, the Home page content I did not see an exact representation of my actual interest or engagements on Instagram. It reveals itself as a very generic content bank. Specifically, I do not access content links or explore from the home page.
Looking at the 'saved' posts, I found this to be the space in which I was both most exposed, as I use the save to make sure I get more of "content like this" in my newsfeed. While I'm not actually sure that the system is getting it right in my general feed, I can see that it contains a wide spread of close information and interests, including all range of items I have casually and intentionally "saved".
Reflecting on this all- I think the scraping and critical examination of the digital space is an excellent practice and experience. I found it difficult to examine the material, when looking over the saved files, I realized how many of them had a strong impact and appeal in my own personal narrative. The imagery connects and resonates with my sense of aesthetics. In that sense, I am comfortable with what has been revealed.
The action I am taking at this time is to make an active review of my "saved" imagebank on Instagram, as I find this archive to be the most revealing and in that sense, the only aspect that needs to be refined, in order to keep the references current. I could see that a hard edit of Saved posts every 6 months could change how content is presented, particularly in the home page.
At this point, these are all ideas. But I am gleefully unsaving posts, and feel energized with new tools and approach to thinking about the dynamics between myself as receiver and the system as presenter of content. The discovery of ideas and techniques to approach my own relationship with media platforms gives back a sense of personal autonomy. I will continue to explore how I can customize my relationship to the online systems I interact with in a way that empowers my agency."