Your digital footprint is the trail of information on the Internet about you. This could include a profile and posts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc., photographs that you, your friends or family have posted online, anything you have written or that has been written about you, for instance on discussion boards, blogs, or in articles. Much of what is available on the Internet will be accessible indefinitely. Even though you deactivate your accounts, the information may still be retrieved by others.
Social media is an excellent tool for keeping in touch with friends, family, and for online learning - your digital footprint offers many advantages. However, it is also very important to be aware of how the use of social media can affect our digital footprint.
The University of Edinburgh has a useful Digital Footprint MOOC covering topics such as why your digital footprint matters, and what you can do to make your online presence more effective.
The Library and Learning Services Team run training sessions on Digital Literacy including 'Creating a Positive, Professional, Digital Footprint'. For more information contact the team.
Many employers investigate the online identities of job applicants, is there anything in your online presence that might put a potential employer off? Potential employers have also been known to reject applicants on the basis of information discovered online.
Imagine what someone searching the web might find out about you? Try a search and see what you discover, practise honing your search skills, if you have a popular name, by adding your town etc., use a few different Internet browsers. Were you surprised by the results?
Create the digital profile that shows the best version of you – how you want to be portrayed. Use your social media presence to show your expertise in a given subject. Tailor your profile to demonstrate your knowledge and passion.