What is a Digital Footprint?
Every time you go online, send an email, or visit a webpage, you are leaving a digital trail full of digital footprints. Some of these trails are ones you choose to leave - like dropping breadcrumbs - while others are unintentional and you might not even know they are there.
Breadcrumb Trails: Examples include when you post on Facebook, write a blog, leave a comment for a product review, upload a picture or file, pay your bills online, and send emails. You intentionally leave these trails (even if we're not always thinking of it like that).
Unintentional Trails: Examples of these are data traces and information gathered about your search habits, online purchases, browsing history, and clicks on hidden links. These trails are the ones responsible for popping up adds in July on your Facebook news-feed based on what you shopped for last Christmas.
The Denver Post performed a survey which revealed that 75% of US adults who searched for information about themselves online found unfavorable results. Those are the footprints we don't want to leave behind. Maybe that political rant you posted (tempting some days), or that picture from the family reunion - you know the one.
Types of Digital Footprints
You leave different kinds of footprints, with different kinds of information. Let's divide these into three general categories.
- Financial data (paying bills, shopping, etc.)
- Personal data (family photos, social media posts, etc.)
- Business data (work emails, business websites, etc.)
Digital Organization - More than Shoe Racks
Wouldn't it be nice if we could just invest in some amazing shoe racks and our digital footprints would be organized and present the best versions of us online? But just like our closets won't clean themselves, even with sparkling new shoe racks, we have to continuously take steps to keep our digital footprints leading in the right direction.
And yes, it is exhausting. And terrifying. Especially if you have kids and you have to worry about their digital footprints, too. We're going to take it one step at a time. We'll cover those three categories of digital footprints and give you tips along the way for organizing your data. So wiggle your toes and get ready to jump in - feet first. Next week is all about digital management and password protection.