Follow the trail of digital breadcrumbs and scroll through the online tea leaves

After a gap of about 10 years, I spoke to a college buddy of mine, let’s call him Mr. Bee. We have been exchanging messages for a few months now, trying to fix a time across time zones and our persistence finally paid off. We zoomed into each other’s lives. and the years fell away easily. 

I saw flashes of the college buddy I knew and then I saw new layers that have emerged. It was a warm and wonderful conversation. So first note to self, make the time to reconnect with old friends. For no reason. A conversation that does not have an agenda is a rarity, as we pack in one screen based meeting after another. 

However, what really is my bigger lesson for the week is the reminder, or should I say revelation, that I got about my digital footprint. I am connected with Mr. Bee on various social media platforms. While we met 10 years ago and have not spoken since, he was pretty up to date on a lot of stuff that was happening in my life. In fact he could see things that I could not and the conversation with Mr. Bee helped me connect the dots.

The trail of digital breadcrumbs I leave in my wake is clearly loud and clear. For those who care to look and listen, it is possible to figure out a lot about what’s going on in someone’s life. I do realise that the sanitised and polished content is always going to show up, or attempt to show some aspects more than others. However I realised that a lot of what’s really going on does also shine through. I don’t know if it’s a good thing or a bad thing – but it’s a thing to think about more deeply for sure. 

Even more interesting than following someone else’s breadcrumbs is a reading of the digital tea leaves session for myself. Prompted by what Mr. Bee revealed to me about myself, I took a scroll down my digital memory lane. As I looked back on my posts across platforms, patterns definitely emerged. Different moods that I was in, different things that were exciting or interesting me, all started to show up as I swirled the tea cup and looked for clues about what was going on in my life. 

Much to think about when it comes to our digital footprint. Some simple questions to ask and answer….How much of myself do I want out there for others to see? What parts am I hiding that I don’t want others to see? In the end, I concluded that my own self-awareness is the key to everything. It’s what ‘I see’ and how ‘I see the world’ that defines how I show up in it every day. 

So here is my ‘ah ha’ for the week gone by, courtesy my chat with Mr. Bee, who could see from afar, parts of my life that I could not see myself. I realised that if I pause to take a scroll down my digital memory lane and follow the digital breadcrumbs that I have left as a trail, I will learn something about myself. If I then sit back and let the images and words swirl around in a metaphorical digital tea cup, I see patterns and shapes emerge that help me see myself more clearly. Some things I like and some I want to change. 

As Dr. Seuss said in – I Can Read With My Eyes Shut “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” So take the time to follow your own trail of digital bread crumbs and scroll through your online tea leaves, it may help you wake up and smell the coffee.

The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.

Nikhil Dey
Nikhil Dey is Executive Director, Adfactors PR.

A trusted coaching and communications professional, Nikhil Dey is a certified life and leadership coach (International Coach Federation - ICF). Nurturing talent and helping clients achieve their goals is what makes him happy. He loves learning from students of communication, teaching courses and guest lecturing at various educational institutions. When he is not working you will find him on the tennis court or out for long walks with his family and four legged friends.

Previously he has held senior leadership positions at Weber Shandwick and Genesis BCW.

He can be reached on twitter @deydreaming

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