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Password Mania, Digital Footprints and My Epitaph

July 21st, 2018 by Michael Dyet

Man hand touching the screen

Hmmm, are we more real online than in flesh and blood?

I hit the centennial mark today. An auspicious occasion – it’s not every day you reach such a milestone. There really should be a reward of some kind.

No, I am not 100 years old, although there are days when I feel like I may be – and days when I feel like there are 100 reasons I’ll never make it that far.

No, I did not manage to do 100 pushups. I seriously doubt that I could even do 10. My wonky back would spasm before I got half way there.

No, I did not hit the 100 mark on my life list of butterfly species. I have seven species to go to check off that accomplishment which is a few years off.

So what historic 100 did I reach? For the 100th time, I created a user name and password and created an online profile. In this digital era, the price of participation in just about anything is surrendering one’s self to the digital data collectors.

It needs to be noted that at least two-thirds of my online profiles are dormant. Some may have been deactivated for lack of activity. But nothing ever really disappears on the web, so a ghost of me lives on each time.

Occasionally, I have been tempted to create an alias or two to use when I am required yet again to register online. As a writer I am more than capable of inventing alternate versions of myself. But then I would have to remember who I pretended to be that day in order to log in again. My brain does not need more things to remember.

Lord forbid I should have a head injury and experience amnesia! The entire online world would become inaccessible to me because I could not remember my user name or password.

I sometimes wonder about the digital footprint I am leaving. Theoretically, it is possible for someone with advanced digital skills to trace my path across the internet in excruciating detail. It would be a tedious exercise given my unexciting life. But it still might turn up an embarrassing item or two.

The reality is that if you are not online in this day and age, you are considered a dinosaur. Every organization or utility that requires regular payments pushes us to do all transactions online. No invoice to mail. No cheque to deposit. The money simply migrates online from us to them. The miracle of modern technology at work.

I have been outspoken about the fact that I participate in the online world under protest. I am there because I have to be. If I had a choice in the matter, I might well opt out entirely. But the door closed on that option quite some time ago.

It seems to me we are angling toward the day when each of us really only exists as an online metaphor of the flesh and blood person we once were. I am seriously considering requesting that my epitaph read: Logged out for the final time. Offline for eternity.

Now Available Online from Amazon, Chapters Indigo or Barnes & Noble: Hunting Muskie, Rites of Passage – Stories by Michael Robert Dyet

~ Michael Robert Dyet is the author of Until the Deep Water Stills – An Internet-enhanced Novel which was a double winner in the Reader Views Literary Awards 2009. Visit Michael’s website at or the novel online companion at

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