This week I took a look at technology and how it effects our digital footprint. Technological advances, the Internet and the proliferation of digital devices have created a digital society in which we all participate. The digital society connects people from all areas of the world through the Internet and social media. This makes it especially important to develop good digital citizenship when using technology and the Internet. When you use social media tools like Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and YouTube you leave a trail, trace or “footprint” which is your digital footprint. You have an both an intentional and unintentional digital footprint. The intentional footprint is one that you create, have control over, and that should give you a positive image. The unintentional footprint is one that you may have no idea about nor have control over. For instance, what others might post or share about you. Part of developing good digital citizenship includes ensuring your digital footprint makes a positive impact in the digital world.
Digital profiles on social media sites make up your footprint. How many different places do you have a digital profile? If you’re like me there are several. Consideration must be given to ensure your footprint makes a positive impression on your friends, family, colleagues, and others. After all, what you post, share and “like” on social media sites can be seen and shared by others. Furthermore, once it’s posted on the Internet, it stays online… forever. The great thing is that through being a good digital citizen you can shape your digital footprint and online reputation.
So how can you manage and maintain your digital footprint? I started by searching myself online to find out exactly how visible I am and what kind of information is on the Internet about me. This gives you the best idea about what others see and what kind of online reputation you have. Next you should think about security and privacy. Check to make sure you are using your privacy settings on each account to limit access to certain people or groups. You also want to be sure and keep private information private. Be sure you think before you post, share or upload media. Would you be embarrassed if your grandma saw it? You do have to be aware of your unintentional digital footprint. This may involve contacting others to remove potentially harmful posts about you on the Internet.
The best way to build a positive digital footprint is to be proud of everything you post and share on the Internet and social media. Follow the golden rule – If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all! Build a positive image and brand yourself in a great way. Another great idea is to create separate social media accounts; a professional account that you share a lot on and a personal account in which you share a little less. Share appropriate and positive experiences, achievements, creative works, and other meaningful experiences. Most importantly the best way to maintain a positive digital footprint is to educate yourself about digital citizenship and practice it.
Please take some time to view the presentation below that I created about your digital footprint. Also, check out the links to my newly added resources about digital footprints on Pinterest and YouTube.