We all hear about online data and the importance of keeping it safe. Everything you do online leaves a mark or digital footprint. What you search for, the websites you visit and even the posts you stop on when scrolling social media contain vast amounts of information about you.
Tips for staying cyber-safe are everywhere. But not everything associated with this data is bad. Good things can come from all the information stored about us on the internet.
Social scientists analyze people’s online activity to discover a wide variety of things about our world. Analyzing social media posts tells them more about how we interact and the condition of society. This information helps inform policies to improve life at all levels.
Suggested friends or follow lists are part of every social media platform. The “you may know” section can be a place to reconnect with old friends you haven’t seen in decades. Social media uses your location, job, school and other information in your profile to connect you with others of a similar background.
Have you ever looked at something on Amazon and suddenly, a million different versions start popping up on your screen? This can get annoying, but it can help you find something fun. By looking at that first item, you signal your interest in similar items. Video-sharing sites like YouTube and TikTok use your video history to suggest other videos you might be interested in. This ensures you see the content you find most interesting.
Using your online data to serve you better is a good thing. While we always need to be vigilant of what we share online, some of the things we enjoy the most trace back to the little snippets we post and share worldwide.