Retrace your steps. Follow in my footsteps. These boots are made for walking. Follow my lead.
These are all common sayings for where your footsteps can take you. But, what about online? Did you know that you create “digital footprints” every time you visit the world wide web? You also have something called a digital shadow that follows you!
What exactly are digital footprints? In a nutshell… your online trail.
According to a company called Pew/Internet, there are two main types of digital footprints.
Passive Footprints - These types of footprints are involuntarily left from your internet browser cookies and cache, etc.
Active Footprints - These footprints are when you voluntarily give out personal information, like your home address and telephone number when making an online purchase.
So, what have you done recently to leave a digital footprint?
-Posted to a blog?
-Made online purchases?
-Created a profile on a social networking site?
-Posted an online vita (resume)?
-Uploaded your photo?
-Created website accounts/registrations for various reasons?
-Sent an email?
-Used a search engine?
-Used VOIP to make a phone call?
So, now we know what footprints are. But what are shadows? Quite similar to your footprints, shadows exist from things like electronic ticket purchases (concert, airline, sports events, theater performances, etc.), medical records, credit card purchases, surveillance camera footage, hotel stays, telephone records, attending professional conferences, etc. Shadows are just a part of everyday life. Whether electronically managed or not. But, more and more, our business transactions and daily interactions ARE electronically handled or stored.
How can you follow your own footprints and shadow?
-Google yourself often!
-Check out http://www.wink.com/ to see where your name/profile show up online
-Set up Google Alerts to receive an email every time your name appears in the news, etc.
This is an eye-opener and an absolute must for everyone… check out your potential digital footprints over the course of one ordinary day…. Very informative and only takes about 5 minutes. You will be amazed...
Want more information? Check out this site to look at the amazing statistics that our digital footprints in the 21st Century have created. Be sure you have some free time on your hand, it is 50 pages in length!
What is the best way to get a handle on your own footprint? Be smart. Post and contribute intelligently. Join professional sites. Create and/or join only positive networks online. Only upload appropriate photos. Step Carefully!
Also... it is extremely important that you educate and teach your students to watch where they walk!