What is a Digital Footprint, and Why is it Important for us to be Aware.

I’d have to admit, like many others around the world, I’m always on the internet and literally excessively dependent on it. I’m constantly using my various social media accounts, searching things up on Google, and logging into different websites. And what’s most scary about that is that most of time, I’m unaware. Unaware about the terms of services and privacy settings, because why bother reading through all that important information, that is an agreement giving the site a lot of my personal information. No doubt almost everyone just agrees with them, and goes one with their regular lives. I know I’m guilty of it.

Public Domain image via Thinglink

For those of you who are completely unaware on this topic, allow me to briefly explain. Every time we log into a website, post a picture or a status on a social media site, send a message to a friend, or search something up on a search engine, we leave a mark that states that we were there. What we do, what we say, where we are, can all be seen by people around the world. Complete strangers, people who you don’t know a single thing about, can find out about the last restaurant you were at, where you’re going on vacation this summer, even where you live. And most of this information can be found by simply searching up your name on any search engine. And this digital footprint that we leave behind, is all of our doings, we have the control in our possession of whether we want it to be positive or negative.

In this day in age, especially for teenagers, having control over our digital footprints is a lot more difficult than one may imagine. Because a lot of it is no longer under that particular person’s control. Friends, family, acquaintances, even strangers, all have a way of affecting our footprint. Which is why it is so important to make sure that you are surrounding yourself with people who you can trust and blocking those who are potentially harmful for your footprint. It indeed is quite difficult to keep out all of the negativity, but really it is in your hands to create the safe environment for yourself online.

Now, I chose to search myself up on Google and see what content would pop up. Since my name probably doesn’t belong to anyone else out there, a lot of the stuff that came up, were indeed mine. First off, my blog, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram accounts and the sort came up. Which are all pretty positive accounts of mine. And then local news articles that featured my name, as well as some of the extra-curricular activities that I have participated in were also brought up. Which I am pretty proud of. One thing that did come up, that was kind of embarrassing, but not something that is a mark on my reputation was, well pictures from my Grade 6 class blog. The pictures are just candid moments of when my classmates and I worked on various activities in class, most of them are just from a long time ago, so they’re kind of cringe-worthy. But other than that, fortunately everything that came up were mostly of my favor, and I would not be ashamed to show my family members, including my grandparents.

 

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Is Working Towards Connection, Splitting Us Apart?

We’ve become so dependent on technology, that we give a blind eye to the negative effects of it. Yes, the world has become so advanced due to technology and now all information sources are as close to one’s fingertips. It is most certainly providing us with uncountable ways of connecting, networking, making friends, and preaching our opinions. However, through this process, have we ever looked back to see how it is separating us and leaving us more lonely than ever?

CCO Public Domain Image via Pixabay

No need to deny this, because it’s true. Today, one is so busy with connecting online, that we don’t realize than in reality, we’re sitting alone on our phones. We don’t realize that we’re not actually with our friends, but rather only with a simple metal object that we’ve made our life source.

Why is it that we don’t come face to face with people and start conversations and feel more comfortable with talking on social media platforms? Why is it that we rather text our friends and ask for what we have for homework instead of asking them at school? And why is it that whenever we’re alone, our hands automatically reach for our phones, so that we don’t seem alone. We know the answers but choose not admit them, because it would make them true.

We really need to take a step back and try to reconnect with those surrounding us and value our time with them more. Because why talk to someone through a device, when we can easily have a more intriguing conversation with the same people face to face.

Like how Eeman said, in her very well put blog post about the world of technology, she too has noticed that in her world of books and galore, technology has made its way in as well.

There were actually times when my friends and I were all sitting together, but none of us were talking, I had my book out, silently reading on my own, and the rest of my friends had their phones pulled out, and were on Facebook, or Snapchat. So basically we were all together, sitting in the same place, but not even looking at each other, or saying a word to one another ~Eeman

It actually is really heartbreaking that we’re not doing anything to stop ourselves from being completely alone. The time is coming fast, and in the near future, I can see for us to have no need to even speak. Technology will do everything for us, and we’ll sit there interacting with robots.

CCO Public Domain Image via Pixabay

In a TEDtalk, by “Sherry Turkle: Connected, But Alone” she starts off talking about how her daughter texted her saying “Good Luck”, and that it gave her a warm feeling, however leaving a hole in her heart. Because of technology, there was no need to say the same thing face to face, even though it would feel so much better.

The video really opens eyes to our current situation. It gives us an idea about how bad our dependency has become. Whether we accept it or not technology is splitting us apart and leaving us ALL to be alone together.

Today’s the day, if we unplug from technology starting now, our futures will be brighter, our lives will be simpler, and our friendships and relationships with others will be stronger.  Let’s make a move before it’s too late, before we lose everyone in the race of finding more friends. Let’s not have a lonely future set up for ourselves. Let’s change, and let’s do it now.

A Few Of My Favourite Poems

Here are 7 of my most favourite poems. Let me know in the comments below which one is your favourite and why. 🙂

 

To Society:
Julie Martinez

We blame society, yet we fail to realize
that each and evey one of us makes up
society. Everyone should
Realize that we are each living, breathing
human being; all with our own struggles.
We all go home and stare at the mirror wishing we could
be someone different, we all
struggle to find our place in this world, and
We. All. Have. Our. Own. Struggles.
So why go out of your day to make
Someone else’s worse, when you can simply
Move on with your life, or even better, help someone
Else for a change. Because, you see, if
You live in a world where everyone blame society,
You might as well blame yourself,
Because you are a part
Of society too.

His Command
By: Heather Noor Brooks

What is it you think you see when you look at me?
No rights, no freedoms, oppressed and scared?
Why?  Because I cover my hair?
What will it take to make you understand?
This path I walk is God’s plan!
Just as in the Bible, He commands
For you to cover yourself, except your face and hands!

So please, do not pity me
I cover myself because HE commands
as I humble myself to HIS holy plan!
With my scarf and modest dress
I command of men my full respect!
They do not look at me as an object or prize to obtain
But value me for my intellect and self-respecting ways!

So the tear you see roll down my cheek
is a tear for you and not for me!
For the one who is truly oppressed
are the slaves to fashion, beauty and dress!
As the men of the “modern world” undress you
to sell their shoes and cars
You starve, your purge, you implant and you tuck
to still never feel pretty enough!

So with my head held high, and my veil pulled tight
I walk with pride tonight
With hope that someday you’ll see
Just how LIBERATING it is
to be covered like me!

CASABIANCA
Felicia Hemans

The boy stood on the burning deck
Whence all but he had fled;
The flame that lit the battle’s wreck
Shone round him o’er the dead.
Yet beautiful and bright he stood,
As born to rule the storm;
A creature of heroic blood,
A proud, though childlike form.
The flames rolled onhe would not go
Without his Father’s word;
That father, faint in death below,
His voice no longer heard.
He called aloud‘say, Father, say
If yet my task is done?’
He knew not that the chieftain lay
Unconscious of his son.
‘Speak, father!’ once again he cried,
‘If I may yet be gone!’
And but the booming shots replied,
And fast the flames rolled on.
Upon his brow he felt their breath,
And in his waving hair,
And looked from that lone post of death
In still yet brave despair.
And shouted but once more aloud,
‘My father! must I stay?’
While o’er him fast, through sail and shroud,
The wreathing fires made way.
They wrapt the ship in splendour wild,
They caught the flag on high,
And streamed above the gallant child,
Like banners in the sky.
There came a burst of thunder sound
The boyoh! where was he?
Ask of the winds that far around
With fragments strewed the sea!
With mast, and helm, and pennon fair,
That well had borne their part
But the noblest thing which perished there
Was that young faithful heart.

Caged Bird  By Maya Angelou

The free bird leaps
on the back of the wind
and floats downstream
till the current ends
and dips his wings
in the orange sun rays
and dares to claim the sky.

But a bird that stalks
down his narrow cage
can seldom see through
his bars of rage
his wings are clipped and
his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings
with fearful trill
of the things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom

The free bird thinks of another breeze
and the trade winds soft through the sighing trees
and the fat worms waiting on a dawn-bright lawn
and he names the sky his own.

But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams
his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing

The caged bird sings
with a fearful trill
of things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom.

I DO NOT LOVE YOU EXCEPT BECAUSE I LOVE YOU
Pablo Neruda

I do not love you except because I love you;
I go from loving to not loving you,
From waiting to not waiting for you
My heart moves from cold to fire.
I love you only because it’s you the one I love;
I hate you deeply, and hating you
Bend to you, and the measure of my changing love for you
Is that I do not see you but love you blindly.
Maybe January light will consume
My heart with its cruel
Ray, stealing my key to true calm.
In this part of the story I am the one who
Dies, the only one, and I will die of love because I love you,
Because I love you, Love, in fire and blood.

X
Imtiaz Dharker

Hand shaking on the stop-cock, she looks
at the X, the warning cross,
the water-tap unlocked, its padlock cracked.
Breath hacks in the throat, Check your back.
Turn it on and an anxious mutter swells
to thunder in the plastic bucket. Don’t spill it.
Fill it to the top. Lift to the hip, stop,
balance the weight for the dangerous walk
home. Home.
Don’t lose a drop.
From the police chowki across the track
a whistle, a shout. Run. Don’t stop. Don’t slip.
A drag at the hip. Hot, hot underfoot. Water slops
up and out in every direction, over the lip,
over her legs, a shock of cool, a spark of light.
With her stolen piece of sky, she has taken flight.
Behind her, the shouters give up. She puts down
the bucket. The water stills
She looks into it, looks up to where the blue
is scarred with aimless tracks.
Jet-trails cross each other off
before they die out, a careless X.

We Rulers of The Earth
Sandra M. Haight

Homo Sapiens we call ourselves, rulers of this Earth,
Intelligent and civilized, but what is all this worth?

We’re working hard to conquer space—we landed on our Moon.
We better solve our problems here, or soon we will face doom.

New industries and factories constructed every day,
And poisoning the air we breathe—is this the price to pay?

Energy sources are shrinking—what happens when they’re gone?
Will Man of Earth ever learn to work with Nature as one?

Some in this world are starving still while others hoard their gold.
Intelligent and civilized, at least, that’s what we’re told.

We cure disease with drugs that may cause sickness as result—
How many dearly paid for this ‘experimental cult’?

We have become a plastic world where everything is fake,
From the foods we eat to how we look—when will we awake?.

We’re civilized we tell ourselves, but fight our fellow man,
If only we could solve world stresses through a better plan.

With government corruption and morality sinking low…
The price of progress we may say—is this the way to grow?

We have upset Earth’s balanced ways, destroying Nature’s scheme—
We’re intelligent and civilized—is it all a dream?

Will we ever walk on Nature’s path, take her by the hand,
Restore the beauty meant to be on Earth, our dying land?

Homo Sapiens we call ourselves, rulers of this Earth,
Intelligent and civilized, but what is all this worth?

What Is Success and What Determines It?

When we think of successful people, we think of those who have brought themselves to a position of financial stability, fame, luxury and achievement of specific goals. For example I think of Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, J. K. Rowling, and many others. But the question is, what is behind all their successes and what determines success in our eyes?

Public Domain Image via Pixabay
Public Domain Image via Pixabay

I’ve recently started reading a book, called The Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell, which is basically a book where the author analyzes the success of many people like the Beatles, Bill Gates, and many hockey players. He emphasizes a lot on how cultural differences, by-born intelligence, rational decision making, and consistent practice has an impact on a person’s future and success. I would really advise you guys to read the book and take a look at his opinion on success.

“Do you see the consequences of the way we have chosen to think about success? Because we so profoundly personalize success, we miss opportunities to lift others onto the top rung…We are too much in awe of those who succeed and far too dismissive of those who fail. And most of all, we become much too passive. We overlook just how large a role we all play—and by “we” I mean society—in determining who makes it and who doesn’t.”
Malcolm Gladwell, Outliers: The Story of Success

However, my opinion on success slightly differs, with Malcolm Gladwell as I believe that success can be acquired by anyone who wants it. I think determination, ambition and hard work can take anyone towards achieving their goals and being successful. Success shouldn’t be determined by how much money a person has in their bank account, or how reknown their name is, but should be determined by the hard work and effort the person puts into getting to that level.

I know in today’s society, we see a man in a fancy suit, shiny shoes driving a luxury car, and automatically label him to be someone successful. Sure, maybe he is, but we never look into it. Situation may be that his father was someone highly successful, and after graduating with a post-secondary education degree, he chose to join his father’s business. What I mean to say is that, this man has it all, the financial abundance, fancy lifestyle, education and so on. But is he truly successful? Did he really have to work hard and sweat at all to get to the position he is at?

Public Domain Image via Pixabay
Public Domain Image via Pixabay

In my eyes, a man who has a high school degree, and has started a family business for the sake of providing for his family, and is somewhat well known in his area for a hard working and determined man is just as much successful as the man I previously described. This man probably doesn’t have a huge house, fancy clothing, a luxury car, or a post-secondary education. But at whatever level he is at, he worked hard to get there, and that right there makes him someone successful, in my eyes, of course.

Comment down below, and let me know what success means to you. What do you think it means? What do you think should determine it? How should it be looked at and what is needed in order to acquire it?

 

Creating a Virtual Me!

     Hey everybody! I recently made an avatar of myself, using this very cool site called DoppelMe.com. The avatar I created is currently set as my profile picture, on my blog. I find it quite cute, to have a cartoon version of myself as my profile picture.

     DoppelMe is a free website, that helps you create a great looking avatar, that you can use for your websites and social networks.

     As you can probably tell, my avatar is pretty basic, and well that’s who I am. Basic. I’m wearing a hijab, because being a Muslim girl, I choose to cover my hair, in order to be modest. It is part of my religion, meaning it’s a huge part of me.

     The second thing you may notice, about my avatar is that, my virtual self, is listening to music. And well, that probably speaks for itself. I love listening to music, and I listen to it all the time. Even when I’m doing my homework!

     Last thing that may catch your eye, is that my background seems to be a large city. I chose for it to be so, because I love big cities, especially ones with huge shopping malls.

     Now, a bit more about DoppelMe. It is pretty easy to register on it, all you have to do is choose a username, provide your e-mail address, gender, country, year of birth (which is optional), and lastly a verification of whether you’re a real person or not.

     Then, you’re given access to a variety of items and expressions to use on your avatar. For example, skin colour, eye colour, hair, eyewear, hats, tops, bottoms, shoes, extras, accessories, and backgrounds.

     In my experience with DoppelMe, I was faced with a few problems, that I think if recognized DoppelMe can improve on. First off, I feel like the skin tone options were a bit unrealistic, and some of the colours weren’t turning out how I wanted them to. Same goes for the eye colour options. Another thing that I found to be a bit difficult was that they send you a password, and you have to go to your e-mail in order to get it, and then you are able to sign in. I found that a bit time consuming.

     However, all cons aside, I would really advise you guys to try DoppelMe out and see for yourselves.

Down below, is the avatar I created of myself.

Avatar created with http://doppelme.com/
Avatar created with DoppelMe.com

Commenting – Do’s and Dont’s

     As you may be able to tell, I am quite new at this whole blogging thing, and I am learning new information everyday about what makes a good blog. Recently it has come to my knowledge that comments have their own way of bringing life to a blog. Which makes my blog, at the moment a bit dead. But that’s okay. Because it make sense, for it to take some time to reach a level of blogging, where there are enough readers to leave comments.

     One thing we should always remember, is the fact that when we’re commenting, we’re doing so on a public basis. Meaning that we should be careful when preaching our opinion, making sure that they don’t start feuds of comments on a post.

     But don’t let that stop you from commenting and getting your opinion out there. Because why miss out on all the benefits. Commenting on other blogs, bring new readers to your blog.

     Now, I’m not an expert, so don’t expect my advice to be the best. However do keep this in mind, I’m learning with you guys and hopefully what I have learned will be of benefit to you!

Here’s some tips you should consider when writing a comment:

Photo Credit: barnimages.com Flickr via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: barnimages.com Flickr via Compfight cc
  • Try your best to motivate and inspire the blogger.

Even if you disagree with what the blogger has to say, try to put your words in a way that will get your opinion to them, but is still subtle. Compliment them, between sentences, so even if you say something that may not be of their liking, they won’t feel offended or hurt. What you really want is for the blogger to feel like writing that post was worth all the work.

  • Keep it short and sweet.

If your comment is longer than the blog post itself, in all likelihood people don’t have the time to read it. Keep it short and what you have to say will receive the value it deserves. But then again, don’t make it a three word comment. That doesn’t make much of an impact.

  • Make sure you know what you’re talking about.

If you don’t have background knowledge on the topic of the post, don’t comment. It only makes you look confused, and you don’t want that on a public forum like the internet.

  • Check your grammar and spelling.

A blogger puts a lot of time and effort in making sure their post meets the expectation of their readers. So the least the readers can do is give feedback in an educated way. Check your comment over before publishing it. Make sure there aren’t any foolish mistakes, because again it won’t make you look so good in the eyes of others.

  • Be perceptive.

Write a thoughtful comment, summing up all contents of the post. Add some things you liked about it, some things you didn’t agree with and why. Try to ask some constructive questions, to start a conversation with others.

Some things you may want to avoid, when commenting:

Photo Credit: C x 2 Flickr via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: C x 2 Flickr via Compfight cc
  • Being rude or offensive.

There’s a nice way of disagreeing with someone’s point of view on a topic. You really have to put yourself in the blogger’s shoes, and think about how you would feel if someone left a mean comment on a piece of writing you may have worked really hard on.

  • Being informal and unprofessional.

You don’t want to put off an impression that makes you look unprofessional. Remember that you’re not texting the blogger, but rather publishing a comment on an online blog, somewhere where almost everyone has access to. So just for that moment, leave the “luv, cuz, lol, and gr8” stuff aside.

  • Restating points from the post.

A comment repeating everything in the post, isn’t of benefit to anyone. If you have anything new to add on, that the blogger may have missed, go ahead and add it. But, don’t restate the points, we get it, you know how to summarize a passage. But doing so, may slightly annoy others.

  • Commenting late on a post.

Sorry, party’s over. Coming late to comment on a post, isn’t going to let you stand out. It probably won’t catch anyone’s eye, and you will miss out on the conversations. So you may aswell, comment on some other recent post.

How you should present yourself:

  • Use your real name, or at least one that isn’t spammy or just foolish. Please don’t use “greenmilkshake1567”or “ilovehamsters101”.
  • Make sure your profile, has accurate information like your e-mail address, so if someone wanted to contact you, they could do so with ease.
  • Set your profile image as  aprofessional, presentable image of you, or atleast a picture of something important to you. Just not a picture of something that doesn’t represent you, is what I’m trying to say.

One thing, you should all take with you after reading this post is that commenting may seem like it has too many difficult rules to follow, but once you try it, you won’t want to stop.

Check out the video I made on commenting using Powtoon.com

Sincerely yours,

Mantaqua

Technology’s Presence in My Very Basic Life

    Today’s world is so very dependent on technology, it’s kind of unbelievable. I on the other hand am someone who can live without it. But that doesn’t mean I don’t use it. When in curiosity of whether or not a tomato is a fruit, you can be assured that I would turn towards the good old internet. I guess I don’t have much of a choice. The internet is the only place where I can find such information easily, nowadays. And to be completely honest I understand how technology has many benefits and that having all information at everyone’s fingertips is a way of progression but for some weird reason, unlike others my age the negative side of technology is more significant to me.

Public Domain Image via Pixabay
Public Domain Image via Pixabay

    Don’t hate me, because I have nothing against technology, I admit I use it very frequently. The thing I fear is, how people choose to use it. Because let’s face it, there are many people out there who choose to use technology in a way to harm others and that’s why I have kind of distanced myself from it. Maybe I wouldn’t have, just maybe, if people knew how to use it safely. Now you might be thinking, why does she care so much about how others choose to use it? Doesn’t how she choose to use it matter? Well, you see, that’s it right there, how others use it somehow has its way of affecting me, and I’m just that kind of a person who prefers to be more protective over oneself, than to be sorry later.

    Now aside from all my concerns on technology, comes the fact of how I use it. I completely agree that technology has made the world a VERY advanced place. It’s a huge source of information and has answers to all questions that are accessible to all. And most importantly, it has opened doors to a place where people around the globe can connect and put their opinions out there. I mean, isn’t that what I’m doing right now? * By the way, being the critical thinker I am, I basically thought of arguments against every single sentence I stated in the paragraph above, just for your information.

    Now, since you’re probably wondering about whether or not I use technology at all. I’ll end your curiosity right here. Yes, I do have access to the internet, as well as my one personal laptop and iPod. I at times use social media, but recently prefer to spend more time in reality, rather than this other virtual world. And yeah, pretty much for homework and sometimes for entertainment purposes I indulge in the world of technology. But then again, just to let you know, I have some strong opinions towards technology as well. And I’ll bring this up, some other time.

Sincerely yours,

                Mantaqua