The Internet today is vastly used worldwide and for many different purposes. Since there are so many people online today, you can learn a lot about a person by their digital footprint. A digital footprint is the “footprint” that people leave online. This is information transmitted online such as pictures, forums, social media posts and so many other things – all which leaves small traces of personal information about yourself available for anyone online to see. Kind of scary I thought! I found a YouTube video that talks a little more about digital footprints:
There you have it! Shows how easy it is to find information on an individual! It’s actually kind of frightening how easy it is to look up someone and find all sorts of information on them. Below, I have three different steps that I recommend on taking in order to enhance my own digital footprint, and yours too!
1. Google Your Name
I think that Googling your name could seriously benefit your digital footprint. When you google your name, all sorts of information comes up such as, websites you’ve signed up for, pictures, social media accounts, etc. I recently googled my name, and so many things came up! I had found old pictures, websites that are tracking my tweets, my old myspace account and many other things. I’m going to make a habit of googling my name every month or so. I think this is important because if you find something you don’t like, you need to delete it immediately! If an employer Googles your name and finds something they don’t like, a potential job opportunity could be thrown out the window! Keeping track of what you’re doing online is an excellent way to enhance your digital footprint.
2. Lock Your Accounts Up
Something I’ve recently done is lock my FaceBook up. FaceBook is constantly updating their privacy settings, so you need to keep updated on that. I believe we’re all entitled to have our privacy with our personal social media accounts, so locking them up should be a must. I think everyone should have their FaceBook’s locked up anyways. I believe this is important because everyone has access to the Internet some how, so you don’t know who is actually looking up your personal information and what they’re doing with it. This could enhance your footprint because if your employer cannot see your posts, there is no damage. Although this could be negative as some employers today may think you’re irrelevant if you don’t have much online!
3. Practice Safe Posting
I really think this should go without saying, but many people today, older, younger, post so many inappropriate things on social media devices. This goes from pictures, statuses, tweets etc. One thing I constantly see on Twitter and Facebook and arguments and fights. It’s embarrassing, immature and probably the easiest way to damage your digital footprint. I avoid negative/controversial posts and tweets to the best of my ability, because I don’t want to ruin my own footprint. I think that being cautious of what you post and deleting offensive/inappropriate posts is extremely important for a number of reasons:
- Even if your account is private, there are always loopholes to see information. FaceBook for example, almost everyone can see your cover photo, profile picture, name, birthdate etc.
- If you’re fighting publicly online, not only is it embarrassing but you can seriously damage your reputation. Future employers do not want to see you arguing online!
In conclusion, there are many ways to improve your digital footprint and to keep your posts clean! I personally believe that Googling your name is a good first step to cleaning your brand up. It gives you a great indication of what you need to change/modify. One thing I did not include in my steps, but I plan on doing is using my LinkedIn account. I believe this is one of the most positive forms of social media out there. I think this is a great way to obtain job opportunities, but if the rest of your “foot” isn’t clean, your bound to end up in a messy situation.