Digital Dirt

April 27, 2009

Politics and Web 2.0: Gay Man Touches Boob

Filed under: Controlling Your Digital Footprint — Tags: , , , — Danny Petre @ 12:44 pm

I still hate the phrase Web 2.0.  I think we will look back 10 years from now a say, “Oh, that wasn’t 2.0 that was Web 1.5…”  I digress.  Social networking sites are starting to rear their ugly head when it comes to crippling political candidates.  The digital dirt of Gen Y is growing like a landfill in New Jersey, and it is totally going screw many, many other politicians in the future.

Take Ray Lam, gay activist, New Democratic Party Candidate in British Columbia’s legislative election.  He has withdrawn from the race because of the below photo that was discovered on Facebook


Everybody know that gay guys, are boob guys.  So, in my opinion, he had no reason to step out of the race.  He was just having a little fun.  Rumor has it that the party is now looking for a non-gay (perhaps anti-gay) penis toucher to put forth as next their nominee.


April 23, 2009

“Sexy Babes” and “Sexting”

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — Danny Petre @ 9:25 am

I was checking out my blog stats a few moments ago and I noticed a reoccurring reference site:  They have put a link back to my blog post on “Sexting.”  (My most popular post with a few hundred views.)

I bet the creeps that check out Sexy Babes were sorely disappointed that I didn’t have a half naked women in my blog.  But the video of Katie Couric on the other hand….

April 22, 2009

Book Lovers Unite…

Filed under: Random but Interesting — Tags: , , , — Danny Petre @ 12:13 pm

… or else we will all be illiterate.  Not really. 


My new favorite site is one called ““.  It is essentially a social network for book lovers.  An online book club if you will. I always say, “you can tell a lot about a person by the books they read.”  Okay, I’ve never said that, but I think it’s true.  So, to me, this site is yet another catalyst for spreading your Dirt… your literary digital footprint.

I encourge you to sign up.  You can follow your friends, like Twitter, and see what they have read, are reading, or want to read. Like most sites there is a rating system so you can the the WHOLE WORLD know how you feel.  The empowered consumer for sure. I love books and I hope this site encourages others to love them too.

April 21, 2009

Smart Phones for Smart Advertisers

Filed under: Digital Footprint Trends — Tags: , , , — Danny Petre @ 10:24 pm

iphone-map-googleA few weeks ago I wrote about how Google was using “behavioral targeting” to tailor advertising to specific indivials that would, presumably, be more receptive.  And I thought it was a great idea (especially since it didn’t violate privacy by targeting advertising linked to your name, demographic information, etc).

In another article publicished in the overly Pulizer-Prized New York Times, they discuss how cell companies are leveraging similar tactics for mobile advertising.  Something I am also hugly in favor of. 

Basically moble providers know a lot about their users.  What apps they download, mobile sites they visit, etc.  Plus, GPS allows them to potentially track your location.  Urban Spoon and Yelp for example use your specific GPS location to reccomend resturants and so on.  Quite convienent.  So if they know our location, our intertests, our sex, our age, our everything, won’t we only get the “stuff” that is interesting to us?  I doubt it will ever be that precise, but it’s a nice dream.  We’re still going to get SPAM and other crap that advertisers “think” we want.

But some ethical issue arise from all of this according to the NYTs article: 

“It’s potentially a portable, personal spy,” said Jeff Chester, the executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy, who will appear before Federal Trade Commission staff members this month to brief them on privacy and mobile marketing. He is particularly concerned about data breaches, advertisers’ access to sensitive health or financial information, and a lack of transparency about how advertisers are collecting data. “Users are going to be inclined to say, sure, what’s harmful about a click, not realizing that they’ve consented to give up their information.”


Thoughts?  I don’t think they will ever get to the point where they are going to use, or even need, our “sensitive” medical information to sell products, but who knows?

April 20, 2009

“This Is Me”


There is a very interesting project being lead out of University of Reading’s OdinLab, called “This Is Me,” which aims

“…to help people learn about their Digital Identities (DI) by producing and testing learning materials for use by individuals and groups. As part of the project we are collecting people’s stories about their DI, and you are welcome to come on in and chat about what it means to you, how you manage your identity and how important other people’s web presence is to you.”

I encourage you to check it out. There are some really hilarious stories about peoples’ digital footprint (a.k.a. DI).  Plus they have a learning center where you can do a few exercises to discover the nation of your DI. Unfortunately the site navigation sucks and and the instruction for the exercises are not at all clear.

I’m quite happy to be discovering a lot  of new resources aimed at educating people on the impact of their Digital Dirt even though I believe at one point or another your digital footprint will bit you in the ass.

April 19, 2009

Susan Boyle: Dirt Worth Spreading

Filed under: Random but Interesting — Tags: , , , — Danny Petre @ 9:22 pm

Susan Boyle, the Scottish woman that has blown the world away on Britain’s Got Talent, is Digital Dirt that is worth spreading. I have watched the clip on YouTube a few times and every time I am delighted. I get an instant smile (and sometimes a little tear in the corner of my eye).  

The imbed code has been disabled on all of the YouTube postings of her BGT performance, but you can view it on this link.

She is the best type of Digital Dirt (in my opinion). A spirit lifting, dream inspiring, self-humbling, and amazing woman.  The question is: is she the biggest YouTube sensation ever?  YouTube views suggest that she is bigger than President Obama and Bush (when he is getting shoes thrown at him from the Iraqi media).  

boyleSo often the web is used to spread Dirt that is simply not worth spreading.  And YouTube, the now 7th largest search engine in-and-of-itself, has a profound impact on our digital footprint.  I am just so glad that this time; this one time, it is being used to share a voice and a story that truly is amazing.  I wish Susan the best of luck.

I’m back

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — Danny Petre @ 7:36 pm

After a few weeks of silent blogging (a.k.a. thinking about blogging but not actually doing it because I was too busy), I’m back!

In a few weeks this blog is going to be transformed.  Class will be over and I will be ready to venture into deeper blog waters.  But Digital Dirt will not be forgotten.  I’m not yet sure how I want take the next step in the blog world, but I do know I want to be famous for it.  Not really.  But I do want discuss interesting topics that will engage my readers (the 30 of you each day).  

Take the poll below and vote on what I should be blogging about!!!  All in the interest if spreading Dirt of course.



March 21, 2009

Drunk Emailing, a Thing of the Past

Alcohol has a major impact on our digital footprint.  Well, for me at least.  How many times have you sent an email after a late night on the town only to regret it once you wake up?  Problem solved.  All thanks to, who else, our friends at Google.  If you have a gmail account you can set this up from Google Labs.

Here’s the deal: you set up “Mail Googles” to for specific times when you are most likely trashed.  Say, 10pm Friday night to 5am Saturday morning (or if you have a bit more of a problem you can keep it set up 24/7).  


When you go to send an email during that time frame gmail will prompt you to answer five ‘simple’ math problems in under 60 seconds.  If you can’t do the math, you can’t send your email.  It’s like a breathalyzer for email.


So that takes care of email, but what about all of the other Dirt that is alcoholically induced, like text messaging or the infamous drunk dial?  Some cell phones abroad have built in precautions. LG released a phone in Korea that features a breathalyzer. Virgin Mobile users in Austrailia can use a feature that will allow them to block certain numbers at late hours of the night.

Now we can finally drink without fear!

March 18, 2009

The Google Mistrial—A New Check and Balance

Filed under: Digital Footprint Trends — Tags: , , , , , — Danny Petre @ 8:21 am


Obama’s wish is coming true: transparency in government is here. That is, transparency in the courtroom. As reported on the front page of the New York Times today jurors are using web technology on cell phones (and some using the internet at home) to do outside research on the trial they are sitting in on. Often, the information that jurors find would have been dismissed by the judge for some reason or another.

It might be called a Google mistrial. The use of BlackBerrys and iPhones by jurors gathering and sending out information about cases is wreaking havoc on trials around the country, upending deliberations and infuriating judges. –

So the question is: in the era of consumerism, should digital information (digital footprints if you will) be as a source of information for jurors to form their opinion? Who’s to say, besides the judge of course, that information found on Wikipedia isn’t a ligament way to inform arguments on all sides of a trial? We have allowed video cameras in the courtroom many times before (think OJ Simpson saga) why can’t jurors post Twitter updates to inform their “followers” of the courtroom happenings?

Granted I’m not a legal expert but it seems to me that today we are continuing to see a shift from government and business control of information (e.g. speaking to the public) to an age of consumerism (e.g. the publics willing consumption of information). Government needs to begin to understand he power that various technologies give the public. President Obama did with his campaign and continues to do so in office. (That was the first time I wrote “President Obama” and it felt really good!) Brands that realize that they are not “brand managers” but consumers are will be better off in the future.

Our illustrious professor, Jim Eiche, reminds us that brands are “a reputation.” Today that reputation lives online as we read consumer reviews, search for information, and seek the opinions of our friends. To me, this is the true democratization of information and it is essential to our lives… even if we are jurors.

March 17, 2009

For All You Job Seekers Out There… The Millions of You

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — Danny Petre @ 8:45 pm

Below is some great advice for those of you looking for a job now or in the future.  David Willmer, executive director of Robert Half Technology, a tech industry recruiter was kind enough to share his expert advice on the subject of job hunting and the affect of one’s digital footprint.  Plus, some other interesting tidbits.


–          What trends do you see with the emergence of digital footprints?

The reality is people are finding more and more information about other people on the Web. Individuals need to be aware of their online presence and understand that what they post online publicly is out there for all to see, indefinitely – whether it’s a potential employer, fellow coworker, client or prospective business partner. Virtually everyone leaves some sort of ‘digital footprint’ these days, whether they intentionally set out to create one or not. Younger Gen Yers, especially, should keep in mind that what they post now could affect them later once they enter the job market. For those currently in the job market, it’s critical to learn how to manage electronic information about yourself, and ensure that it presents a favorable, professional image of you. Having a positive online presence is especially important today since hiring managers are often searching the Web to find out more about job applicants. Employers aren’t just looking for red flags – often, they are seeking evidence that someone is actively involved in the profession, perhaps through participation in trade groups or industry blogs. They also may be looking for inconsistencies with representations made on applicants’ resumes.

–          How can job seekers begin to control theirs? If at all.

While you can’t always control what others say about you online, you can post prudently, including comments on personal blogs or in open forums, as well as photos. In addition, you can take steps to ensure your online image is as polished and professional as possible. The first step is finding out what information about you is already online by performing a search using popular search engines. If you discover an item that you wouldn’t want hiring managers to see, ask that the person who posted the information or website administrator to remove it. Similarly, untag any inappropriate photos of yourself. If you belong to social networking sites or have a personal blog, it’s a good idea to adjust your privacy settings so you control who has access to the content. Also, set alerts to Google or other tracking services, like Technorati or BlogPulse, under your name so you can receive an e-mail notification every time something new is said about you online.

–     Can you really just ask websites to remove information that you don’t agree with (as you outline in your managing digital imprint tips)?

If you find something online about yourself that is untrue or that you wouldn’t want hiring managers to see, you should definitely contact the person who published the information or website administrator and kindly ask that it be taken down. Most sites have policies that deal with such requests; and while your request might not always be honored, it doesn’t hurt to try. That said, it’s important to be prepared to discuss any false or unflattering information about you that cannot be removed, and spin the situation in a positive light. For example, if a hiring manager asks about a wild photo from your college days, steer the conversation in a more positive direction by pointing out how your outgoing personality will help you thrive in the role. Most employers will be understanding if you are honest about the incident and can see you are qualified for the position.

–     How are recruiters and HR professional using the digital space to research candidates?  Do you have any interesting example of candidates that have gotten jobs or have lost a job       specifically because of their digital footprint?

Hiring managers may be searching the digital space, including professional and social networking sites and blogs, looking for clues to a candidate’s character, personality or work ethic. While there may be situations where they have uncovered information, either positive or negative, we find it more productive to interview job candidates in person and speak directly to some of their references.

–          Does Gen Y have a different mentality when if comes to digital footprints than Gen X and earlier generations?  Content generators vs. spectators…

Generation Y has certainly been called more tech-savvy than previous generations because of the proliferation of technology they have been exposed to early on. That doesn’t necessarily mean they are any better at managing their digital footprint than members of Gen X or earlier generations. They may be more familiar with new tools and protocols related to the Web, but they need to be just as vigilant about what they are saying and posting online as professionals who are less accustomed to these activities.

–          Do you foresee government protection and privacy legislation impacting the transfer of digital information?  Related to background checks for employment, as well as for banking, search, social networking, etc.  Like there is for analog information (US Mail)

 We can’t predict what legislation may develop in the future, so it’s always best to be selective and protective with the information you post electronically.

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