What is a Digital Footprint?

What is a Digital Footprint?

How long have you been on the internet?  Just think about it for a second.

Think about the very first email address you created. Did you use Netscape Navigator? Did you visit AskJeeves?

Move on from there for  moment. The moment you had your first internet chat. Did you use MSN? Yahoo? Remember that dreary grey window with your first excitement of what we call emoticons today?

Don’t laugh. Stick with me here.

Move on from that. The first profile you created. MySpace?  Facebook? Then you started to use Skype. You bought your first item online. You then signed up to internet banking – and today, you can’t actually remember the last time you physically stepped foot in your bank?

We do everything online. We buy, we sell, we share, we talk, we commit, we break up, we learn, we offend, we fall in love.  All of this contributes to our digital footprints.

So, let’s break it down a little. If you have at least 1 of these, then you have a digital footprint. If you have most of these, then your digital footprint is, I’m afraid to say, huge.

  • email addresses
  • online social profiles
  • online shopping accounts, whether you’ve signed in “As a guest” or whether you’ve created a regular shopping profile
  • online bank accounts
  • newsletters that you’ve signed up to in the past.
  • newsletters that have taken your data and sold it to other businesses who now spam you
  • an online blog you created.
  • a guest blog you submitted for someone under a profile you created
  • your mobile phone (yup. If you use IOS, Android or Windows, you would have no doubt created a profile which magically connects to the cloud, and sends things, as backups, to outerspace. And, if you’re like many I know, you may have forgotten your original account and re-created profiles, several times over. Can you remember what each of them are?)
  • If you’re a business-owner, you most probably created your business, and listed it with Companies House
  • Do you friends tag you on social media? Yes? They’re adding to your digital footprints without you even realising it.
  • On your social profiles, are all your profiles marked as private or is there information that is visible to the public? If you’re not sure how to answer that, then, I’m afraid, you’re in the greatest online reality show there is.
  • When your friends tag you in a photo – do you check to see whether that photo is set to only be viewed by friends, or is that photo set to be viewed by the public? If you’re not sure how to answer that, then we have our answer.
  • When you tweet – do you add locations to your tweets, telling the world exactly where you are or where you’ve been?

And every now and then, sometimes more often then we like to admit, we hear of internet security issues, or profile impersonation. In fact, an entire reality tv series developed on the basis of profile impersonation. That’s how real things have become.

So. What happens when you get yourself into a situation and you need to become forgotten? And Quickly?

Just how easy is it to become obscure. To delete your digital footprint. To become incognito for a while.

Not that easy.

We recently received a request for something that was quite different from what we usually do. Where we’ve been asked so often to create, broadcast, amplify a digital footprint, this particular request was 100% contradictory to that. We were asked to help someone escape.

And we did. With effort. But we did.

Over the course of the next few blogs, we’re going to share some security tips to help you safeguard your digital footprint.

But right now, why not change your passwords?  It’s about time.


About the Author

Katy Roberts administrator

Katy Roberts has over 15 years's experience in helping businesses amplify their brands, build their customer bases and engage effectively with audience communities in order to build relationship for long-term business success. Having left the corporate world and now working independently since 2015, Katy continues to help local and national businesses tell their story.

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