Digital footprint. This is a term used to describe the traces people leave behind online. It includes emails and attachments, uploaded videos or images, and any other information people put online. All of it leaves behind a trail of personal information about ourselves that can be made available to others online. Some people are very active online. They share their name, photos, videos, and other personal information online. An example would be Alec Couros. He’s very comfortable having this information publicly available online, but at the same time he’s very savvy with how to shares this information, and the implications of doing so.
My digital footprint is there, but it’s not as public as most people’s. I use variations of my name for some social media sites. If I google my name, Susan Waldners show up, but none of them are me, more than likely because I spell my name Suzan Waldner on Facebook. I didn’t find any photos of myself when I did a google search, using both spellings.
I don’t want to avoid people finding my digital footprint. I’m just generally not the type of person that posts a lot of photos of myself, friends, or family online. I also don’t broadcast my every move. It’s simply not me. But I completely understand people who do.
It is very important to teach children about their digital footprint. That everything they post online, no matter where, can become public information. Take Snapchat for example. You can take a video/picture and send it to a friend, and control how long he/she can look at it. After that the picture disappears. Seems safe. Reality? No. The person you send it to can take a screenshot of the photo, and it’ll be on their phone for as long as they want. They could even pass it out to other people, if they wanted to.
I do not want to discourage anybody from creating a digital footprint.We all have a digital footprint, we should just make sure it’s what we want it to be. Social media can be a great platform to allow the world to hear your voice. People share thoughts and ideas, as well as comment on articles and ideas that are important to them. The main this is that we stand behind our words. We may choose pseudonyms for things we don’t want to become a part of our footprint, but we have to keep in mind everything can be traced back to us. We are still legally responsible for our actions. We should try to be the same person online that we are offline. We should uphold our integrity, values, and always treat everybody with respect.