Updated: Mar 11, 2019
A digital footprint is a trail of data you create while using the Internet. It includes the websites you visit, emails you send, and comments you post.
No matter what you do online, it is important that you are aware of the digital trail you are leaving and what the possible effects can be.
A footprint can be different from your digital reputation, as far as your footprint may be anonymous or unintentional (passive).
A "passive” digital footprint is a data trail you unintentionally leave online. For example, when you visit a website, the web server may log your internet address, which identifies your Internet service provider and your approximate location. While your internet address may change and does not include any personal information, it is considered part of your digital footprint. A more personal aspect of your passive digital footprint is your search history, which is saved by some search engines.
While it is rarely possible to have no footprint, the first steps toward reducing your digital footprint and managing your digital reputation are easy.
Your digital reputation is an online version of you! It may be the only description someone has of you. Make it positive.
Your digital reputation is defined by your behaviors in digital communities and by the content you post about yourself and others.
Tagged photos, blog posts and social networking interactions will all shape how you are perceived by others online and offline, both now and in the future.
Trash talking, bullying, boasting misdeeds, questionable photos and locations can become part of a fairly permanent and damaging record.
Posting photos of the weekend on a social media site is a fun thing to do. Nevertheless beware... nothing in the online world is confidential and your postings can last for years.
It may surprise you to learn that many companies use social media activity as part of a background check when screening potential employees. The may routinely look at their applicants’ public online activity.
Many employers will use social media as part of a background check.
This means we must be stewards of our own online identity and take swift action if untrue or negative information are published online.
However, for all the damage a bad online reputation can do, it is equally true that honest, positive, respectful posts, pictures, and participation can also enhance reputation.