Your digital footprint can speak volumes

Have you ever scrolled so far down a celebrity’s Instagram page that you land in their retrica era? Or perhaps you randomly stumble upon your old Facebook account that you made to play games with your friends?

In today’s digital age, our online activities and behaviors leave a digital trail that can impact our personal and professional lives.

Even if you delete something, it might still exist somewhere in the vast online universe. That’s why it’s important to be aware of your digital footprint.

So what is digital footprint?

one step at a time

A digital footprint is the record of all the activities you perform on the internet. It includes your social media activity, email communication, online shopping history, blog posts, and everything else that you do online.

An active digital footprint is when you deliberately share information about yourself online. For example, posting on social media or participating in online forums. Whereas a passive footprint is when data is collected about you without your knowledge, like cookies, and other website tracking tools.

Why does it matter?

Man asking what would you do

Your digital footprint can affect your personal and professional life. Employers and colleges often check the digital footprints of potential employees or students before making hiring or acceptance decisions. And a negative one can harm your reputation and limit your opportunities.

For example, inappropriate posts or pictures can lead to cyberbullying or even job loss. Moreover, your digital footprint can also impact your personal relationships, as content intended for a private group can spread, causing damage.

Here are few examples when things didn’t go right for some

Via Reddit
Via Reddit

Tips to manage your digital footprint

Bunny sitting infront of the computer

By understanding what a digital footprint is, why it matters, and how to manage it effectively, you can protect your online reputation and limit potential negative consequences. Here are some tips to create and maintain a positive digital footprint:

  • Conduct a Google search of your name to see what information is publicly available about you. You may find old blog posts or social media profiles that you’ve forgotten about and can go back and delete them.
  • Adjust your privacy settings on social media platforms to limit the amount of personal information that others can see.
  • Be cautious about what you post online and who you share it with. Before posting anything, ask yourself if you would be okay with it being seen by anyone, anywhere, at any time.
  • Use a professional email address for job applications, and avoid using personal email addresses that have unprofessional or inappropriate usernames.
  • Create a positive online presence by contributing to online forums related to your field of study or blogging about your interests.

Now that you know how to maintain a positive digital footprint you can surf the internet and post with confidence!

Did you know that all Humber and Guelph-Humber students have access to online resources? Find them here.

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