Digital Thumbprint & Footprint

Sharing Your Digital Self

Are you one of those who have decided to jump on the digital bandwagon? Everything is about that word digital now. Unknown to many we already have a “digitised” identity on the day we came into this world. Starting with the registration of our name at the National Registration Department (NRD) where we got our birth certificate our details are keyed in and we are assigned an identity number. If not it may be just that number you have in your medical card in between birth and the time you were registered with the NRD recorded somewhere. In a way its any form of information that is related or in modern term ‘linked’ to you.

Thus it is the start of your journey but not so digital as you carry on with life like going to school with your name tag or class photo that you have taken in the school magazine. Social media has not really reached our shores then but we do have that excitement of making new friends and of course in the old days we have pen pal columns where we look for friends in newspapers, entertainment magazines and I also distinctly remember through radios. We exchanged letters, photos, even cassettes and if opportunity allows we will arrange to meet up if they happen to be nearby. Yes, if you were born in the late 60s like me that “digital life” was considered at infancy stage.


Now lets forward that to our present time, the changes have been a hundred folds, The tools, the equipment and medium with which we interact being the social animal we are. Which is why we have our own social media presence or platforms via facebook, instagram, twitter ecetra ecetra. These social media enablers enhances your digital profile by giving by giving a face to the name, description of your likes and dislikes. Even if one uses a different profile image it shows what type of person you are. It may show your pet cat, some famous stars or rock group that you like or something more sinister (like being a Manchester United or Chelsea fan). In a way it will still link you up with people who love cats or those who are fans of the same famous star and rock group or those who support great soccer teams like Liverpool.

These days one can just sit at a kopitiam, a shop which has been tagged by many (including yourself) using Google Map, facebook, Waze, Foursquare Swarm. You whip out your smartphone and take a photo of your favourite dish and upload it to your social media outlet for your online friends to see. A few years ago it can be a delayed post but now it can be live (No thanks to Facebook Live, Instagram Live or Twitter Live). You can actually share online what you are presently gobbling (only God knows why) and it stays there also for others to see later. Anthony Bourdain is smarter as he had other people to hold the camera for him while he enjoys the Laksa Sarawak (and gets paid to do the show).

But there are different levels of sharing depending on the person holding that powerful digital tool especially if its a smartphone with camera-video-gps-face recognition-4G speed capability (powered by the latest Android). Though I would like to say those in my generation will be satisfied just to take automobile accident photos just so we can remember that plate number (for 4D numbers to purposes). Seldom will we share it instantly online unless its a really bizarre incident involving a rabies infected dog and several cars – well maybe put in a zombie turtle that caused the accident.

On an extreme level by my standard will be an image of a beer drinking session with the buddies minus the pretty ladies whom we exclude out of the photos even if they are with us. If we do take the ladies photos we won’t be in it ourselves but we will send it to our buddies in Whatssap and see if they can do better than us. Unlike the younger generations who will whip out their hand phones for selfies, welfies anytime, anywhere including the standard of “washroom mirror image” photos.

I wanna hold your hand Selfie is okay in this case ~ with Sibu Resident Mr Hii Chang Kee

On an extreme level they will share their personal videos online for all to see be it with friends and strangers especially if one is familiar with Biggo Live. I came across a Biggo Live broadcast where it shows no one but still the ‘likes’ were coming in. Still its an interesting observation as the world wide web (especially that browser or apps you are using) now will know you more (where you have been, what you are doing and what you like at what particular time) than your best friends whether you consciously know it or not. If you play the DOTA 2 game online for enough hours the game console will already inform what type of player you are. Similarly if you watch enough Youtube channels the browser or apps will know what genre of channels you prefer. That’s a point to ponder and there is no escaping as the digital infrastructure creeps into the secluded corners of Sarawak for that matter.

Let’s embrace this digital age for its here to stay to disrupt our lives. Do not worry about those beer drinking session photos put online but do make sure that its not posted with a time stamp showing its office hours and that you should be back behind your desk that time.