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 Matt Navarra throughout his day, and how he felt about it.
9 a.m. BST / Trackers = 0
Time to set off on my daily trek around the web…
✅ To-do list
Let’s go… First.. I load up my must-have-open browser tabs for work:
- Google Calendar
- Xero (business accounts tool)
- Spike (Newswhip): One of my favourite social media manager tools
- Dataminr: Another of my geeky social media manager tools
10 a.m. / Trackers = 90… Already!
- My first hour each day is mostly spent checking new emails, scanning the tech and social media news from the past 12 hours offline, then reviewing posts in my Facebook Group – The Social Media Geekout…
- Replied to three emails in Gmail.
- Spotted two interesting stories in my Social Media news dashboard on Spike (Newswhip). I opened both articles to have a quick read and then shared them using Buffer to my Twitter account, LinkedIn profile, and Facebook Group.
TikTok poaching Facebook staff | CNBC.com
Tracker update: Around 70 of the 90 trackers blocked so far happened when I visited the two news articles.
Content is not cheap, so publishers be hitting me with a ton of trackers for ad networks, as well as a whole bunch of analytics tools to track what I visit on their site, and how I navigate around the rest of their webpages.
Spotted trackers for publisher analytics tools like Parse.ly and Google Analytics.
11 a.m. / Trackers = 181!
- Quick Google search for new homes for rent in my local area. I used Rightmove. This appears to be where a ton of the new trackers were blocked. I wonder if I will now see a ton of ads in my Facebook and Twitter news feeds about moving home and related services :)
- Spotted a great article by Twitter Marketing UK about the work of the social media team at @UKTV. I read the article and shared it to my social channels using Buffer.
- Stumbled upon an article in The Guardian about algorithms punishing poorer people around the world.
Noon / Trackers = 257
- Needed to run this Google image search to find a photo of TalkSport radio host Paul Ross to go with a tweet.
- The tweet about TalkSport had a recording of a radio interview I did last week. I downloaded the file from an email in Gmail.
- Quick break to scan my news feeds on LinkedIn, Twitter, and my Facebook Group. I also shared the video from TalkSport on all my profiles.
- Did a search on Twitter for a tweet by @MariSmith about a new Facebook Live clipping feature. I retweeted it via twitter.com.
- Dropped a short email via gmail to a contact at Pinterest about our sponsorship deal with them for our new podcast ‘Geekout with Matt Navarra’
- Used free online video tool to create video for a tweet.
- Checked my Facebook Messenger messages via facebook.com. Responded to two messages. My mum wanted to know what I want for my birthday. Awww ❤️
- Lunch break…! Checked out a few articles I spotted as I scanned my news feeds:
Safari’s new private sharing mode upsets publishers | Digiday.com
Breaking Bad movie ‘El Camino has an alternate ending! | DigitalSpy.com
iPhone users frustrated with bugs in latest iOS update | SkyNews.co.uk:
Once again, the bulk of the new trackers blocked were due to ad networks and social media trackers on news publisher’s sites.
2 p.m. / Trackers = 456!! WTAF
WTAF! 456 trackers blocked!! That’s a jump of nearly 200 trackers in under an hour of light browsing.
- Replied to bunch of emails I have been needing to get to for days (30 mins)
- Posted a tweet about a cool new influencer marketing tool called Kindred
- Responded to a few Facebook Messenger messages from random people I don’t know. Unsurprisingly, most of my inbox is filled with people asking me to help them get their accounts verified. 🙄
- Saw something funny. Tweeted it out.
- Watched a cool social media visualization on YouTube.
- Shared DataViz on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn.
3 p.m. / Trackers = WOAH! 492!!
Another 200 trackers blocked in the past hour. They really should not bother tracking me… My web habits are at best boringly unoriginal, at worst, weird. :)
- Read a few more articles
LinkedIn launching new features for Pages | Adweek.com
Podcast tips | Journalism.co.uk
- Browsing Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook Group… Whilst muttering my on-going annoyances about Tweetdeck and thinking out loud how I can’t be the only social media geek who wants new shiny features for Tweetdeck.
- Spotted a great article on Medium by @Ow about Facebook’s attempts to infiltrate our smart home plans.
- Replied to more emails using Gmail… Still chasing the elusive inbox zero achievement.
4 p.m. / Trackers = 749… Wow!
- Closing in on the end of my working day… Sorted an important email to a contact at Facebook (via Gmail)
- General browsing of Twitter and Facebook
- Checked in on social media monitoring tool dashboards to spot any breaking news about Google’s big product launch event (Used: Dataminr + Spike by Newswhip)
- Read an article on Business Insider about Influencer Marketing
- Checked out a post on Mashable about the cast of Friends reuniting for a selfie… Don’t judge me.
- Read and shared news about new features coming out for Pinterest | Adweek.com
- Skim read a product review on PocketLint about the new Beats Solo Pro headphones.
- Quick bit of business admin. Created a couple of new invoices and proposals for new clients using my preferred accounting tool, Xero.com
(Internal monologue) I wonder how much of the growth in the tracking of my activity happens just by me merely keeping a lot of tabs open and trackers periodically being re-run on those open pages?
Tracker update: Another 250-odd trackers blocked in the past hour. It’s pretty unnerving to think all this is going on behind the scenes as I browse. Bring on monetisation of your personal data!
5 p.m. / Trackers = 841
- Checked out a cool new tool do for upscaling images (via Product Hunt).
- Shared clever image tool with my followers online (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn)
- A friend shared an interesting article on Niemans Lab which gave me an excuse to put off more admin :)
- Starting to lose focus on work now… Read this article on Engadget about a funny new Apple TV series coming soon
Slapped myself across the face and forced myself to stop procrastinating… More emailing via Gmail… DONE :)
- One last check of Newswhip/Spike, Dataminr, and my social feeds before I think about wrapping up work for the day.
- Remembered I needed to check the price of a new Apple iPad for possible kids Christmas present this year. (No trackers!)
- Spotted some crazy news about Nigel ‘Moron’ Farage on Sky News
6 p.m. / Trackers = 1,030
- Spent the last hour online half working / half finding myself being sucked into all sorts of junk news, subreddits, and sharing memes with friends in group chat on WhatsApp and Messenger
- Visited WalesOnline for an update on local news… The amount of ads on local news websites is super-annoying. Pop-up and banner ad hell!
Tracker update: This last hour kept Firefox’s tracker blocker busy. Final count: 1,030 trackers! I was about to say I feel violated :) However, they were all blocked.
Matt Navarra | Social Media Consultant
Matt Navarra is a freelance social and digital media consultant. Matt’s previous clients include BBC, ITV, United Nations, International Red Cross, Sainsbury’s.
Prior to working as a consultant, Matt was Director of Social Media at global technology news and events company The Next Web (TNW) and a digital communications expert for the UK Government.
Matt frequently appears on BBC News (TV/Radio), Sky News, NBC Europe and other channels as a social media industry commentator.
Recently, Matt created and manages a popular Facebook Group for social media professionals (and geeks!) called The Social Media Geekout. He also hosts his own podcast called Geekout with Matt Navarra.