Your digital footprint is the embodiment of all your internet activity. It’s best described as the trail of information you leave behind whenever you go online to browse, shop, post or chat. It includes both a visible trail, such as the things you willingly share and do online, and an invisible data trail, made up of your IP address and browser history, among others.
Assuming your digital footprint has no impact on your future endeavors, friendships and overall livelihood is a big mistake. Your digital footprint matters more than you know, and it is now crucial for every netizen to become aware of the digital breadcrumbs they leave behind, especially on social media.
Why a positive digital footprint matters
A positive digital footprint signifies a good online reputation that lets you expand your social network and achieve your career goals.
Whenever you go online, you create a digital version of yourself. All your posts, photos, videos and comments can be accessed, shared or stored by other members of the community. So keep in mind, that at some point, someone will search for you online. It can be a future employer, a parent, a romantic partner, the police, a school, or even somebody who wants to harm you.
Projecting a positive online image of yourself can have many benefits, including:
- Boosting your employment opportunities
- Expanding your audience if you are an artist or musician
- Helping you achieve your goals
- Nurturing healthy and meaningful relationships
How you can protect your digital footprint
Before we delve into the best ways to set up a positive online trail, let’s take a look at some of the preliminary steps to help you manage and protect your digital self:
- Don’t share too much personal information on social media platforms
- Enable privacy settings on your accounts
- Keep a record of all your online accounts and delete the ones you don’t use
- Consider deleting accounts that could harm your reputation
- Do an online search for yourself to see how others view you online
- Use strong, unique passwords for each online platform
- Review security settings often and install a security solution on your devices to protect against malicious attacks and phishing attempts
How to create a positive digital footprint
Your trail can be one of your strongest assets or your biggest liability. For employers and recruiters, your social media profile stands as an unofficial cover letter to your resume. According to recent statistics, about 33% of all colleges research the digital footprints of applicants, and around 75% of recruiters are required by their companies to carry out online research on candidates.
Here are five steps to help you create a meaningful and positive online presence when surfing, blogging, tweeting or posting:
- Always think before you post. Take into consideration how your future comments, photos and videos may be viewed by others
- Tidy up your accounts and take down photos that may portray you in a negative light
- Don’t act on impulse and avoid sharing content or commenting when you are stressed or upset
- Build up social media profiles that showcase your achievements, qualifications and fields of interest
- Always be kind, and avoid offensive or hurtful language when addressing others online
Remember, you’re the one controlling the amount of information you share online. So focus on positive content that can’t be misinterpreted or used against you.
How Bitdefender can help you gain control and manage a positive digital footprint
Keeping tabs on all of your online accounts can be challenging and time-consuming. With Bitdefender’s Digital Identity Protection service, you can discover and curate the extent of your digital footprint so you can make more privacy-focused decisions to keep you, your online presence and your reputation safe.
Bitdefender Digital Identity Protection combs the web for your old accounts using only your email address and phone number. It allows you to analyze and manage your digital self, reducing the amount of data that can harm your online reputation and put your livelihood at risk.
You can find and delete old accounts, respond to data breaches and sniff out social media impersonators. Each revealed data entry, privacy risk or uncovered data breach comes with easy one-click action items. You can easily head off any security risks by immediately changing account passwords and making privacy adjustments on all of your accounts.