What is a digital footprint?
Your digital footprint is the trail you leave left by things online. Anything on the internet with your name on it - social media activity, information on a personal website, online subscriptions, your browsing history and/or any photo galleries and videos you’ve uploaded. It’s important you think twice before posting anything online.
Managing your digital footprint
Below are two easy steps to help you identify whether or not your online “first impression” aligns with how you want others to see you now and in the future.
Google yourself by typing your full name into Google’s search box. Keep in mind people might search for you in many different ways.
Example: Jane Doe, firstname.lastname@example.org, Jane Doe, teacher, etc.
Questions to ask yourself: Were there any surprises? Were you happy with the search results? Was there anything you wish you could change?
Use Google Alerts to monitor what others are saying about you.
You can sign up for Google Alerts to receive email updates of the latest relevant Google results (web, news, etc.) about you by simply visiting the site and entering your name. You can set the frequency of updates to “as-it-happens,” “once a day,” or “once a week.”
Tips to keep your digital footprint safe
Always remember to log off when you have finished with an online service.
Do not enter your password on a website using free public Wi-Fi. Hackers on the network can snoop on what you’re doing.
Remember that most of the websites you visit will make a note of your visit and may also track the websites you visit before and after their website.
When you sign up for a new social media site, or when you buy something, you are giving personal information to the people who manage those websites. That information is often shared, circulated, and sometimes sold.
Remember that anyone can copy and paste anything you say online, and they can then send it to others, or publish it on the Internet.