What is a digital footprint?
When we walk on sand, we leave a trail of footprints behind. Similarly, we leave footprints online; we leave records and traces behind as we use the Internet. Have you ever wondered what you may have left behind when you’re online? Should you care? The answer is yes!
Your digital footprint may contribute to your online reputation. It may benefit but also be a risk to you at the same time.
Your footprint may include information such as:
- Logging in and out of your accounts
- Browsing history
- Accessing files online
- Purchasing history
- Emails & chats
- Sharing location
- Social media posts
Why is your digital footprint valuable?
The information you share online makes up who you are, and all this information is captured and stored in a database where interested parties may be able to access the data. These records may help companies target specific markets and consumers; it can also help an employer look into your background or advertisers to track your movement online.
Take control of your footprint
Cleaning up your digital reputation will require a lot of effort. It would be better to build a good profile of yourself online. Here are some tips to control your footprint online:
- Always think before you share your information with the world, especially personal information about yourself such as your full name, identity card number, address, phone number or personal photos.
- Although you can’t prevent websites from recording server logs, sending cookies or implementing web bugs, be sure to take small steps to protect your privacy.
- Be smart with the websites you visit and emails you open. Evaluate links and messages before clicking on them, and always avoid suspicious or untrustworthy websites.
- When joining a web forum or social network, be mindful of sharing your opinions.
- Change your passwords regularly.
- Create a positive digital reputation by being respectful of others online.
- Always set your profile to private and be sure to check the settings every now and then to make sure it doesn’t change.
- Filter out offensive photos that you’ve been tagged in, as they could damage your image.
Remember, whatever information you share online will stay online, so be sure to always know what kind of trails you’re leaving behind and what effects they can possibly have on you in the future.