You’ve heard of a carbon footprint, but did you know you have a digital footprint also? A digital footprint is related to how you interact in a digital environment. This includes everything from watching a traditional television to sending a text on your smartphone. This of course includes the compilation of all the data human beings generate online. When we start talking about data and how much is created and stored, my brain turns to mush because it doesn’t make logical sense to me.
Science tells us that the entire Internet weighs as much as a strawberry; however, the amount of data stored online (if it was in the form of books) could stretch across the surface of the United States and China 15 times. In my brain, something that large should weigh more than a strawberry, and that is where my flawed human brain gets stuck. If you want to know what your data footprint is (I checked mine today), you can click over to a little quiz that will determine it for you on Cisco’s website at What Is Your Digital Footprint?. It told me I’m a super-user. No shocker there.
This infographic called Data Footprints By Generations by Wikibon breaks down the data footprints created by each generation alive today. I notice they didn’t include little kids though. If a 5-year-old watches a video on television or on an iPad, doesn’t that count as a digital footprint? I think they should be included on this list. What I found to be the most staggering stat is that from the beginning of time until 2003, humans generated 5 billion gigabytes worth of data. Today, we generate that much data every two days. In a year from now, we will generate that much data every ten minutes. What will it be like in 10 years from now? Doesn’t it seem like at some point it would get full? Science is full of mystery and wonder. I bet if someone who lived back in the 1800s looked at our lives now, that person would think we already live in a science fiction world. In a way, we do.
Data / Digital Footprints Broken Down By Generation
(Click Infographic To Enlarge)