Growing up I was called the tech guru. Thanks to Mavis Beacon, I the fastest typist on my neighborhood block. I was also the only one with a computer and printer. When I was in elementary school, I would charge a dollar to type up a paper for the kids in the neighborhood. I used technology to keep myself busy and distracted from the things lacking in my reality. I remember my first consistent online interaction with the internet was using a website called NeoPets. That was the beginning of my digital footprint. Although my Grand mother was a digital Guru of her time, my family never sat me down and talked about the dangers and addiction of the Internet. I would soon realize that I valued my time online on social media more than I would in the real world.
I do not know if it is a good or bad thing, but when you search Adrienne Llanes random information pops up about me. I am mixed with African American and Puerto Rican. I have never seen anyone other than me with my first and last name. I was named after my mother’s best friend Adrienne. I always run into people asking me how to pronounce my name because they are only familiar with the male version of my name, Adrian. I have my father’s last name, Llanes. It is not really a common last name for people in America. Llanes is derived from . It kind of amazes me really because you think of the billions of people in the world, what makes me so unique.
At first. I did not understand what it meant to have a digital footprint. I never discussed my activity and escapades online with anyone. I felt it was my secret what I did online. I did not get absorbed into the internet until I was introduced to Black Planet, . A girl I went to middle school with introduced me to social media and I was hooked ever since. It amazed me how you can connect with people from all over the world. Before this moment I was subject to my filter bubble, I was isolated from the world and, now I had connections all over to people who looked like me and understood me. I was soon to learn the freedom of being able to create my own image, persona and image that I wanted the world to see.
Google Image Search
Over the years I have been very conscious I have been very curious about what appeared online when I look myself up on a Google Search. I am a very private person and although I felt my life was out of control, I felt I had a good grip on controlling how I appeared online. I remember for years there was this unattractive, in my eyes, picture of me online when you Googled my name that someone, I went to high school with hosted in an album on Flickr. I must have flagged that picture for years until finally it was removed in 2019. I did not realize how although it was cool to be found on the internet once something was published and displayed it was nearly impossible or a hassle to get it removed. Once I learned this, this shaped my interactions on the internet drastically.
I no longer trusted providing my real information just to any websites or social media. It introduced me to the ideal of anonymity and creating a barrier between my personal life and my online data. I began creating profiles online under screen names and nicknames I made for myself. Over the years the screennames were random, but after a while they had meaning behind them. I used these fake personas to feel comfortable saying things online that I would normally not feel comfortable sharing in person. I realized this was the only way that I could be in control of how I was searched and viewed online. I wanted to keep my social and personal online pages under my real name professional and appropriate to be viewed by schools, employers, my friends, dating potentials, and even my mom.
When I do a Google Image Search of myself, not much comes up. A quarter of the images link to information about me and half of those display pictures of myself.
Google Search Results
Since I am so unique and special, the entire first page of Google when I search my first and last name is dedicated to me. It shows my interests in Information Technology, which is my main area of focus at the University of Michigan where I attached TechWeek, an annual tech conference, in Detroit. It shows my United States Tennis Association Individual Player Ranking from high school. My LinkedIn and Facebook profile are my results, which I have tailors to how I want the world to view me as a successful young adult emerging in the Tech Industry. My Facebook has privacy settings that even though I do not my name shows in the Google Search, it does not appear in an initial search on Facebook. Privacy settings on social media are the main way to shield your private social media life from the world.
Sites Collecting Data from Facebook Connect
There are now websites such as WayUp where they perform web crawling and gather information online about you. After searching myself I was able to claim ownership of my profile and edit the information displayed on it. However, there are websites that can be dangerous online especially for people who are easily identifiable online such as myself. It displays information such as my first and last name, birthday, age, current and previous addresses. This can be very dangerous because unwanted people can track you down or use this information to steal your identity for fraudulent use. It also has given me a rating of 1.92-3.79 out of 5 Reputation Score.
- “BlackPlanet.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 23 Mar. 2021, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BlackPlanet.