Tracking Diaries with Tiffany LaTrice Williams

In Tracking Diaries, we invited people from all walks of life to share how they spent a day online while using Firefox’s privacy protections to keep count of the trackers that tried to follow them. 

Whenever you’re online, a multitude of third parties attempt to record what you’re doing, largely without your knowledge or consent. Creepy! That’s why Firefox has turned the tables, letting you block and see the trackers. Read on to find out how many trackers tried to trail Tiffany LaTrice Williams throughout her day, and how she felt about it.

Name: Tiffany LaTrice Williams
Occupation: Entrepreneur, Artist
Favorite thing on the internet: Unsplash (I mean, who doesn’t love free high res photos for content), Asana
Diary date: November 1, 2019

Atlanta is the no. 12 city for self-employment and about 52% of the freelance/self-employment workforce is black women. And you’ve guessed it, I am one of those black women earning an income by making magic happen from behind my laptop with a remote, flexible team of three while managing a community of 53 women with my organization, TILA Studios.

Black women are one of the most influential consumer groups, which means our interests, shopping and browsing habits are important to major corporations, third party tracking companies, marketing and advertising agencies. These tracking companies profit off of our interests and habits.

6 a.m. EST / Trackers = 0

My alarm rings… I strategically snooze until it’s 6:45am. I immediately shuffle to my coffee pot, brew 16 oz pot of coffee (I tend to need about two cups to feel my absolute best), meditate + stretch, and then blast Sango Radio on Pandora to get myself into a groove.

9 a.m. / Trackers = 86

I’m behind my computer addressing the most important items on my to-do list. I apply “the rule of three” to my day, which means I address the three most important items in order to have a productive day. I manage my tasks in my passion planner (see below a colorful snippet).

This includes research on industry trends within my market, writing pitches to potential partners or sponsors and developing any content that will need to be distributed to the community or public.

Current tabs open:

  • AJC
  • Medium
  • Creative Loafing ATL
  • ArtsATL
  • ArtPapers
  • Burnaway
  • Pandora Radio
  • Google Drive

In the first hour of internet browsing, 86 trackers have been blocked. Most of the trackers blocked were from Google Drive and Asana. Within the first hour of working, I am honestly a bit shocked and appalled at the number of blocked trackers. It makes me curious as to what the trackers are attempting to capture based on my internet surfing and web browsing.

11 a.m. / Trackers = 121

Email time and a little social media browsing. I respond to the most urgent emails that require my attention in regards to the health of the business. Any request for coffee, interviews or partnerships, I funnel to my executive assistant, Dartricia. I increased my productivity tenfold once I hired her in 2019.

Current snooping around includes:

  • Facebook (business and personal)
  • Instagram (desktop)
  • Twitter
  • NPR Radio
  • Netflix (just in case I want to watch something)

So far 121 trackers have been blocked. My curiosity has reached a peak. As I reflect on this number, I realize that I am protecting myself from trackers that are trying to profit off of my habits and interests on the internet. Privacy and security of my assets and intellectual property are of the utmost importance to me.

2 p.m. / Trackers = 0

I’m out in the world, yay! The hermit has emerged from behind the computer. I check in with our members at the Goat Farm Arts Center located in Midtown Atlanta. I spend the rest of the afternoon working with artists, meeting potential business partners and exploring new gallery space.

These offline hours are crucial to me as the relationships I cultivate help me offer free studio space to our community of black women artists. It’s an open space in an awesome location in the middle of the city.

4 p.m. / Trackers = 186

After visiting TILA Studios members at our studio, I walk over to the Warhorse Coffee Joint to grab an Earl Grey tea and a seat at the bar to begin my afternoon work sessions to start wrapping up the day’s activities.

Current tabs open:

  • Google Drive
  • Gmail
  • Facebook
  • Slack
  • Asana
  • Pandora Radio

At this point, I am noticing that Google Analytics is the main tracker. I use Google Suite to run my business. My email is hosted on Google business, and we manage all of our documents and resources in the drive. While it makes sense that Google would be interested in my interests, routines and data, it’s a bit unnerving. I mean, I literally “google” everything.

6 p.m. / Trackers = 241

I just returned home from visiting our studio at the Goat Farm. If you ever get a chance to visit Atlanta, I would advise you to add this to your list of creative places to visit. Now, I’m home and getting settled for my second wind of work. As an entrepreneur, the work continues after 5pm. It’s like an unwritten rule of the game.

Current tabs open:

  • New York Times
  • New Yorker
  • Medium Digest
  • Ground News

Yes. I am a news junkie…. The early half of my career was spent working in the media and entertainment industry. As much as I love the fine art industry, I try to stay grounded in local, national and global politics to ensure that I stay relevant and current as to how to best serve my community. Currently, I am at 241 trackers. At this point I am not surprised, as I am on sites where it’s almost an underwritten rule that my interests would be tracked. What I am reading, learning and consuming as a millennial is relevant and important.

8 p.m. / Trackers = 578

At this hour, this is when my creativity kicks in. I tend to work on projects for the next day or do anything that requires me to be innovative such as drafting our newsletter in MailChimp, creating any brand assets like video, flyers or publishing events on social. As the CEO and founder, I wear multiple hats (which I secretly LOVE) and have my hands in about every part of the business throughout the day.

Current Tabs Open:

  • MailChimp
  • Asana
  • Canva
  • UnSplash
  • Facebook
  • Instagram

578 trackers have been blocked. Whoa!?!?! That’s a high and, quite frankly, a scary number. I am overwhelmed by the amount of sites that are trying to track my habits, interests and routines.

By 2021, black women will have a spending power worth $1.5 Trillion. As a contributor to the culture and a protector of the culture, I like the visibility of knowing what information is being tracked and how I can best protect myself moving forward. Practicing digital safety with understanding and knowledge versus digital safety coupled with ignorance is powerful.

Tiffany LaTrice Williams | Founder, CEO TILA Studios

Tiffany LaTrice Williams is a visual artist, executive director and founder of TILA Studios. LaTrice has been featured in The New York Times, Huffington Post, Forbes and NPR for her work and impact in the art industry and empowering black women artists. She is the recipient of the 2019 Arts Innovation Luminary Award, 2018 Artist Entrepreneur of the Year Award by C4 Atlanta and was a finalist for the Center for Civic Innovation #GoodTrouble Award. She received her undergraduate degree in International Relations and Fine Art from the University of Southern California and her Masters in Women’s History at Sarah Lawrence College.

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