Take control of your Digital Footprint

Wikipedia’s definition of a digital footprint is,???In social media, a digital footprint is the size of an individuals online presence; as it relates to the number of individuals they interact with.???  However your digital footprint covers not just your social media activity, but ALL your online activity.

A recent article in Network World using research from AVG discovered that 73% of children under 2 already have a digital footprint, due to parents sharing photos and information on social networks.  Depending on your parents your digital footprint begins before birth, with scans emailed or put on Flickr, a Facebook account set up in advance or name suggestions posted on Facebook and so on.

Harris Interactive conducted a survey in which around 90% of Americans indicated they wanted more control over the information that is available about them online. I suspect that, in this case, Americans are speaking for all of us. Because people use websites and search engines to find out information about others, the fact is that our online identity is now as important as our “offline??? personal or professional reputation.

Here are some basics to get you started in discovering what your general footprint is on the internet.  Start your personal discovery and begin reflecting on the questions below.

Start in the obvious way and just Google yourself by typing your name into Google’s search box in whatever way(s) someone doing a search about you might i.e. John Smith, teacher. Take a look at what you see.

Sign up for Google Alerts to receive email updates of the latest relevant Google results about you by simply visiting the site and entering your name. You can click preview to see the type of results you’ll receive.

Spezify is a search tool presenting results from a large number of websites in different visual ways. The site moves web search away from endless lists of blue text links and towards a more intuitive experience giving viewers an overview of a subject. The site mixes all media types: blogs, videos, microblogs and images. Everything communicates and helps building the bigger picture.

  • People Searches

There are several people searches.  Are you listed?  Here are some common ones to check.

http://www.zabasearch.com

http://pipl.com

www.123people.com

While the initial reaction by some when they discover they are listed is concern, keep in mind that people have been listed in phone books for a very long time. There is no evidence that having this information available is cause for concern. Instead, the primary cause of danger is rarely by strangers.  Instead  when it comes to maltreatment of children the number one source is in the home followed by a close friend or family member.

Now that you have discovered the extent of your digital footprint you may wish to preserve it for your future generations and loved ones. Our online lives are an extension of our physical lives and our family can get a peep at our memories if we take some simple steps to store and pass on our digital footprint. Digital Estate Planning websites like World Without Me help individuals to pull all their significant digital footprint from the Internet onto one safe and secure platform and pass it on as they choose to their heirs.

It is time to take control of your Digital Life. Start today!

Bhaskar Thakur

Digital Transformation & Marketing Leader , Growth Enabler, Recreational Runner, Learner & Seeker. On this blog I share my perspective on Technology, Entrepreneurship, Startups, Growth, Health, Running and Biking.