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Digital Footprint

7th Sep 2020

 

Digital Footprint is a term being used more and more. Put simply, it means ‘what information about us there is online’ and what impression or ‘footprint’ of us that leaves. Locards Theory is that ‘every contact leaves a trace’ and this is as true digitally as it is at the scene of a crime. So every contact you have online leaves an impression of you that adds to your overall digital profile.

Used correctly and cleverly this is such a fantastic tool to have at our disposal. With a few clicks, future employers/ potential clients can learn so much about us – without us having to even open our mouth.  Think of the power that holds.

But, in 2020, we find ourselves at a bit of a crossroads where use of social media platforms are concerned. Unsure of how to use them but, as a result of lockdown, finding ourselves more reliant on them than ever. This can then create confusion as without knowledge of what ‘leaves a trace’ our digital footprint can become muddied.

The more we know about social media and apps the more effective our digital footprint can be.

If you sell yourself over your pages, you can use your footprint as a tool to market yourself to universities and employers. Imagine a university admissions department being able to look you up and learn from your digital footprint that you are a keen netball player, enjoy park runs, raise money for charity through various treks, donate money to others on their just giving pages, write inspirational messages and share useful links via your social media accounts. What does that tell them about you and your extracurricular persona? A team player, healthy and into outdoor activity, kind, helpful and with a social conscience. All that information about yourself that you have fed them before even meeting them.

The flipside of course is that if your digital footprint shows up inappropriate, racist or mean comments, photos of you acting the fool or under the influence. What message does that then send? We have all seen media coverage of influencers whose careers have come to an abrupt halt when old tweets, or comments made in their teenage years have been publicised.

Our Digital Footprint is a gift. If used correctly it can help us immeasurably so use it to your best advantage. Next time you go to post that photo, video, comment think:

  • Is it kind?
  • What does it say about me?
  • Would I put this comment/ this information on an application form to my future employer and be proud of it?

Make a positive footprint: we hear a lot about the negative footprints left behind online. The best way to keep your online reputation in check is to use your time online to get creative and create a positive footprint.

Digital Footprint Information for Young People

Digital Footprint Information for Parents

Download our Digital Detox Journal

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Lucy Howard

BulliesOut Digital Communications Officer

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