DL 10

Digital Literacy Assignment 2: Digital Footprint

One’s digital footprint is the trail left by every online action taken by the individual. The websites visited, services used, transactions made and posts posted. Each action creates a string of information, often link able to one person. Though it may not seem prominent, digital privacy is an important topic. Websites, third parties and online service providers see the use of personal information to market to individuals as an economic advantage. Many people may be unaware of the data they give to sites. The use of digital footprints at the expense of personal privacy can be controversial and the extent that publishers have access to, unnerving. The use and consequences of digital footprint in the context of marketing, advertising and data mining, in my opinion, is not as relevant to young people and may not even concern them. These things may be a concern now, but in the ever expanding virtual world, it may be personal dynamics that have more value and concern then the tracking of information by anonymous aggregates. What should concern all internet users, is how digital footprints affect personal brand and the individuals future, and why we must be aware of our presence online.

How might your digital footprint affect your personal brand and future opportunities? Why is it important to be aware of ones digital footprint?

Leaving a digital footprint is nearly impossible to avoid, if you use the internet. Let alone use it for school, work and entertainment…all the time. How does it affect our future? How people view us? How companies view us? The following examples show different approaches to these questions about digital footprint.

Person 1: I’m 18, applying for universities, and jobs and finishing high school. I use the internet for everything. All of my school stuff is saved to databases and on the cloud. I am on Snap Chat, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube, daily. I post pictures of parties and things I do with my friends, have all public accounts and location services on for convenience. My parents don’t see what I post, and I don’t what them to. Most of the photos and comment I post are impulsive. I’m tagged in dumb photos and have obscene comments under my posts. If universities, teachers, or my parent see some of the stuff linked to me online, I might get in trouble and could face serious consequences. Universities and future employers may see me as a liability or unfit candidate. People can see all the aspects of my life the good, the bad, and the ugly. People could form snap judgments about me and the crowd I hang out with. My talents and achievement are mixed with my mistakes and bad decision all displayed online with the click of a button. My digital footprint is large and a lot of it is public on my social media accounts.

Person 2: I’m 15, in high school and I only use the internet out of necessity. I don’t have any social media, or public accounts. For school I save things on various flash drives that are hard to keep track of. I communicate with my friends via email or phone. I never have to worry about the distractions of social media, but I am sometimes left out of things because it is harder to correspond with friends. I have no public image online on any social media account, not even on my friend accounts. I have no worries about negative information getting to universities and employers because I am hardly online. It’s difficult for people to find information about me online. I have no consistent platform to showcase my talents and achievements, its all physical copies or personal photos.  It’s difficult to network and contact people without social media accounts. My digital footprint is seemingly small and much of it is probably buried by tons of cookies and all sorts of internet aggregates.

These are polar opposites of each other. Each has their own draw backs. The key is to have a balance in one’s online presents. Using your digital footprint as a tool for sharing interest hobbies and achievements can be beneficial. Logging key events and milestones can be made easy. But we must be mindful of the fact that what we post will always be there and that we give up some of the rights of our content. It’s easy to get sucked into the digital world, we must remember that what is posted has real world consequences.

Describe strategies that you can use to keep your digital footprint safe. 

  • To keep you digital footprint safe it’s important to be mindful of what you post. Never share passwords or give others access to your accounts, and keep the things on your accounts organized so you have control of what you share. If you aren’t happy with your digital image, make changes toward how you would like to be viewed online.
  • Keep track of accounts, organize and delete the ones that you no longer use. Just like you clean and go through things in you house, it’s important to do the same with you digital things.
  • Always have privacy and user settings at a standard that is acceptable to you. If you don’t want location services on, turn them off. If an app needs access to your photos, deny it or find a similar app that doesn’t need that. If you are trying to use online services, website or apps that ask for information or access to things that you don’t want to share, find an alternative. It can be easy to choose convenience at the expense of giving private information.
  • Some sites want access to cookies and won’t let you use the site otherwise in those cases use your judgement and weigh whether or not to click “close and accept”. Don’t just go on autopilot. Maybe take a glance at the Terms and Conditions. Know about the site and the footprint you leave.

How would you explain the idea of digital permanence to anyone in your spheres of influence? Why should we share this concept?

Digital literacy and the awareness of digital footprints are of growing importance in our society. whether the commercial and marketing aspects or the cultural and personal dynamics are of concern to you i is important to be informed about digital footprint. When sharing my limited knowledge about digital footprints I would explain it differently to different people. I explain to my little cousin that a digital footprint is just like when you walk through sand and leave a trail that people can see and follow. I might talk to my friend about the specific sites and apps that use cookies, or have specific privacy settings. I may explain it to my teachers or other adults as a never ending receipt of you digital actions. I might explain it to my grandparents as a stack of letters that are sent back and forth to different sites that leave something like a paper trail. There are many analogies and metaphors that simplify the concept of a digital footprint. the question is why should we care? In the age of avid internet users, we need to understand the lasting effects of what we do online. In order to use the internet safely and feel comfortable we must understand how it works. How sites have advertisements about things we searched up weeks ago, and how apps start guessing things about us, and how services become more personalized even if we don’t think we are leaving a link able trail. Digital footprint is the trail left by every online action, creating a string of information, webs of data, forming profiles and linking people. Digital permanence, footprint, life, space, whatever you call it. It’s important to learn about it and know how to navigate it.