Digital footprint, also known as a digital shadow, is a data trail that can be tracked while using the internet. This includes the activities, actions, contributions, sent emails, online submitted information, and digital services communications. This information exists as a result of the behaviour of the users and is for that particular user. The effect of digital footprint is immense as hiring managers use this knowledge in recruitment. They claim they discover some valuable online candidate information which they frequently use to determine the candidate to win any desired place. If they do not keep a clean digital footprint, this can be a disadvantage to some of the candidates. Other than employers, teachers, investors etc. can also track the digital footprint.
Because your digital footprint includes all traces of your online activity, keeping a clean digital footprint is extremely important. But why does keeping a clean digital footprint important? It’s crucial as it’s your identity and reputation online that makes you unique. Everyone searching you, including recruiters, will interpret it searches. You can verify if your current digital footprint is clean by searching various search engines for yourself and seeing what details the world views. Make sure that you create and maintain a clean digital footprint, for example, if you want to be called a think tank leader you need to create a clean digital footprint that will be your audience see you as one. It includes the people you add, posts that you comment on, how you communicate with others and your own contributions. The digital footprint is a growing snapshot of who we are online so make sure that you know what kind of trace you are leaving and what consequences it can have.
What is my current digital footprint?
A lot of times it has always been said that once you put something on the internet it’s going to be there for good. It includes material that can actually damage your reputation from posted photos or videos on social media platforms, commented negative opinions on blogs or forums, your username, credit card information, etc. The more information about you the more potential hackers are willing to steal your identity. We live in a world where almost everybody has personal information at their fingertips and most of the time people end up claiming that they have nothing to hide. Nevertheless, it is important to keep track of and know the data trail you create online from time to time, and to control it.
Organizations like the Family Online Safety Institute are suggesting that you take steps to control your digital footprint. However, you need to be mindful of what it includes to manage your digital footprint. By running a name search on different search engines, you can get your current digital footprint and protect it and see what comes up. Please take note that websites are sometimes indexed by Google and other sites, so that the details you may assume you have removed may still be available. Such information is likely to vanish over time, however, as Google updates its tests. Most of the findings that result from social media as it is the heel of the digital footprints of most people. If you may want to remove information, you can simply delete it, or if it is an account, you can deactivate it to keep your digital footprint clean.
How to clean up and maintain your digital footprint?
Cleaning up your digital footprint is not too late. You have now realized the sort of information people see when they search for you after running the name quest. Hiring managers, teachers, investors etc. are among these people too. Once you actually meet them your online profile also gives these clients, business partners and others the first impression. There are ways to make sure your digital footprint stays clean which are:
• Evite sharing things that are too personal
• Make sure the websites you sign up don’t post to you on social media platforms
• Also ask yourself if you are revealing any details you are about to share online with your family and friends
• Using privacy settings to protect data
• Keep track of all your online accounts and be very mindful of those you use daily, and delete those that you occasionally use
• Google yourself regularly and see your credibility from time to time
• Keep separate accounts for different reasons
• Keep track and never share your passwords online
• Change your passwords frequently
• Use them to log out of your accounts
• Keep a limited group of people with personal information if you add some
• Don’t say bad and rude things online
• Add positive aspects of your online life, including milestones, achievements, learning experiences or posts
• Avoid something illegal or controversial
• Always think and comment before you click
• Verify that your footprint is healthy
• Manage the digital footprint using digital tools
• At least review the terms and conditions before you agree to sign up
• Linking accounts track-accounts linked to your social media accounts, e.g. games
• Don’t overdo sharing online
• Be courteous, helpful and understand others online
Your digital footprint will say a great deal about your personality, beliefs and behaviour, which you should ensure is positive. Clean up your current digital footprints and always note that you always have to leave a positive impression online.