Taking togetherness apart: from digital footprints to geno-digital spores

J. Goldin, W. Grove, J. Breytenbach, A. C. Suransky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Increasingly, the lines of our lives are prescribed, mediated, drawn and knotted together by digital technologies. It has been argued that ‘digital footprints’, as a trail of user data points collected from online communities and networks, can assist in better understanding human behaviour and social interaction, initially focused on mainly real-time and retrospective analysis. In our attempts at sense-making of togetherness in a COVID-19/post-COVID-19 world, we believe it may be an oversimplification to conceptualise our daily data trails as ‘digital footprints’. The nature of our interaction with these technologies as well as their interaction with us have changed deeply ever since the rapid growth of digital connectivity. The character of these symbiotic relationships has been accentuated even more by our global experience of ‘connected disconnection’ during the pandemic’s lockdowns. Against this background, we expand the concept of ‘geno-digital spores’ as a more appropriate metaphor for the manner within which data and technology combine in new ways to create (or fracture) lines of togetherness.
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)163-175
Number of pages13
JournalHuman Geography
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2022


  • COVID-19, digital footprint, digital technologies, geno-digital spore, surveillance

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