Whenever you go online you leave a digital footprint. When you share images and messages on social networking sites, post a personal blog or leave a comment on a website you are helping to create a “digital identity” for yourself. There are two parts to your digital footprint - active and passive.
Your active footprint
Your active digital footprint is made up of specific activities your undertake online. It includes your online activity – your Facebook posts, tweets, Instagram pictures and more. Some of this information can be found through a simple internet search of your name or screen name, so you need to consider what might be found and how to configure privacy settings in the systems you use.
Your digital footprint also includes other people's responses to your posts, comments they make about you and how they tag you in their photographs.
Your passive footprint
Your digital footprint also includes data you unintentionally leave behind as you browse the web, usually in the form of cookies that record what websites you visit and IP address records left in databases which document your visits to individual sites.
Why is this important?
If you are not careful it is possible to create an unfortunate impression of your from what can be found online. This can be important as many employers now use ‘cyber-vetting’ by checking your social media presence. They can form an opinion of you from this before you meet them.
Having a positive digital identity can also be a real benefit when looking for employment or to build useful contacts. You can connect with experts in your field and promote your interests and expertise.