The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Viewpoint-How to reckon with your digital shadow

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campus editor

Somewhere in a flurry of ones and zeros is all that will remain of us.

Maybe that’s stretching it. But scrolling through social media, I’ve had the recurring thought that many decades from now, centuries even, when myself and everyone I know are gone, our digital footprints will linger on like cybernetic ghosts.

To me, it’s a scary notion.

Chilling enough is the idea that our words and likenesses will live forever on inactive social media profiles, gathering artificial dust and calling out to no one. Even more chilling is the idea that those profiles might only look like us.

How many times have I spouted a half-baked opinion online just to have something to say? Or engaged with a meme that wasn’t really my sense of humor just because it was trending at

the time? I’ve never posted an idea I didn’t believe in, but I’ve posted lots of things I only halfway believe in.

Things I didn’t think hard enough about.

Social media has caused a paradigm shift in how we communicate. It’s given voices to those who would otherwise be voiceless, but it can also make those voices sound the same.

If you’re not careful, that person on the screen won’t be you anymore.

For the last few weeks, I’ve gone without social media for the first time in almost a decade. I didn’t have a moment of clarity or anything. There was no decision to break the shackles of internet culture that were binding me and walk off free into the “real world.”

I just wanted to take a step back — to breathe a little.

In that time, I’ve thought a lot more about the things I really care about. Many of those things wouldn’t garner hundreds of likes or retweets. They wouldn’t spur on debate or shower me with approval. They wouldn’t get people talking.

But they make me feel like me.

Whatever phantom version of myself will haunt the creaking walls of dead chat rooms and vacant profiles one hundred years from now, I hope he’ll feel as close to me as he can get.

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