If you have been listening to our Podcast Library Binary then you know that a phrase we enjoy saying is “The Internet is Forever.” When we say this one of the things we are talking about is your Digital Footprint.
Digital Footprint is defined as the information about a particular person that exists on the Internet as a result of their online activity. This includes posts, pictures, videos, links, comments made, and posts liked. Take a moment to consider every website you have ever made an account on. Did you use your real name when you signed up for the account? What about every article you have ever liked on Facebook or Twitter? When was the last time you Googled your own name?
Most people use the internet on a daily basis without considering the footprint of digital activity they are leaving behind, but keeping track of your digital footprint is an important task in the technological world. Employers search the names of job applicants and according to a Career Builder Survey around half will decide not to hire someone based on their digital footprint.
So what can we do?
First, put your name into a few search engines and see what comes up. Check to make sure that everything there looks to be in order. Consider setting up a google alert for your name so that you can know if anyone is writing about you online. A lot of your digital footprint is probably good information but its better to know what’s out there rather than be surprised.
Once you know what kind of visible digital footprint you are looking at it’s time to start deleting old accounts or beefing up the privacy settings on your social media. Be sure to read the fine print on these settings carefully. Control over your accounts means better control over your digital footprint.
If you don’t already have a password manager, get a password manager. This way you can have a strong and unique password for every single website you use. Keeping the accounts you do have secure means that your private life is less likely to end up in the hands of someone unsavory. For more information on password managers read last month’s blog post.
Finally, skip the negativity. Sure it’s fine to complain about a bad product on an Amazon review or gripe about how bad the final season of Game of Thrones is turning out, but bashing and badmouthing can really hurt you. Realize that nearly everything you post online can be found by someone looking to know more about you. This includes things like voting records and past employment. Remember the age old saying “If you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything at all” and your digital footprint will remain a glowing example of the person you are.