Monday, March 24, 2014

What is Your Digital Footprint?

Your digital footprint is everything on the Internet about you...

- All of your profiles on social networking sites
- Photographs that you, your friends, or your family has posted online
- Anything you have written, or that has been written about you (discussion boards, blogs, or articles)

Each time we add something about ourselves on the Internet, we enlarge our digital footprint. Whenever we mention someone else, we are expanding theirs. 

How to UNCOVER your digital footprint: 
  • Do a "vanity search," and type your name into a search engine to see what already exists about you. 
    • Repeat the search regularly using services such as Google Alerts (keywords of interest (eg. your name), and you will receive automatic alert messages from Google every time your name appears on the web; you can set these alerts daily, weekly, or monthly. 
  • Check your social networking privacy settings--set your account to Friends only. Follow these steps to ensure your Facebook profile is ready for potential employers or colleagues to see.
  • If you have a personal blog, remember that private blogs show up in search engine results as well.
    • Go through your blog posts and edit them for language or delete anything that will hinder you professionally.
How to MANAGE your digital footprint: 
  • Evaluate the content of your social media pages: ask yourself, will it affect current or future employment? Will it offend my peers or colleagues? 
  • Consider the privacy implications of what you are sharing: don't post anything on friends/colleagues' profiles that could potentially breach their privacy. If in doubt, ask people before adding pictures or posting content to their profiles. 
  • If you are seeking a new job or promotion: just remember that your digital footprint is important and can effectively act as your resume--particularly if you are using LinkedIn. Don't post or comment on anything that will hinder your chances of success. 
  • Set goals: do some research and spend some time figuring out who you want to following and affiliate with, making sure your research is relevant to your industry. This will show that you are interested in keeping up to date with industry trends.
  • Stay aware: be aware and stay active; what's new, what's getting old, what is exciting and what is shocking. 
  • Have fun: potential employers want to see that you are still active and contributing to personal and relevant industry networks-but always make sure to do so in an appropriate way. 
  • Delete abandoned social media accounts:
    • If you still have a MySpace or Bebo account lingering around, its time to delete it
How to ENHANCE your digital footprint: 
  • Build your online presence by showcasing your skills, experience, and interests. With most online sites, you can control the information about you that is publicly available. 
  • Online sites that include your CV or resume (LinkedIn) can expand your range of contacts 
  • Professional networking sites can give you access to potential employers, whose digital footprints you can also check 


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