We spend so much of our time online these days. We create accounts here and enter passwords over there and we don’t even give it a second thought. But perhaps we should. Have you ever thought about the digital footprint that you’re leaving behind on a daily basis?
Your digital footprint is everything that you leave behind as you move around the Internet. Things such as app use, comments on social media, and even email records – it’s basically your online history and it can potentially be seen by other people or tracked in a database.
Since the big GDPR introduction earlier this year, you have likely seen pop-ups on every site you enter asking you about ‘cookies’. Well, these cookies are placed on your system and they can track your movement from site-to-site. They allow targeted advertising that will show you products you’ve been recently reading about or looking at online. This is one of the ways we leave a digital footprint.
Most of us are on at least one social media platform. Well, this is where your digital footprint can really leave a mark. How many ‘likes’ do you do a day? How about retweets on Twitter or shares on Facebook? They all contribute to you leaving your mark on the online world. It’s worth making sure you know what the default privacy settings are for your social media accounts, and continue to keep an eye on them regularly. Sites will often introduce new policies that may increase the visibility of your data. Stay astute and clued up so that you are only sharing what you are 100% happy to.
All this may be fine when we are alive and well. But what about when we die? What should we want to happen with all of this information if and when the worst happens? As a blogger, I am leaving a pretty huge digital footprint. Not only is this entire blog online, but all of my social accounts too. It’s more than a footprint. It’s more like a crater! My online presence is essentially my career portfolio out there online, for all to see.
If anything was to happen to me and I was no longer around to look after my online accounts it’s important to me that my career legacy is covered. SunLife has some useful information about this if you’re interested in finding out how to secure your digital legacy.
Whether it’s for work or for play, the internet is such a huge part of our lives these days. We don’t give it a second thought about logging on and going about our daily routines and processes. But it’s always worth being mindful of what we are sharing and leaving behind. Will you be happy for your children or even grandchildren to see what you’ve posted in ten or twenty years time? What’s funny now might not be remotely amusing in a few years.
The internet is permanent. As soon as you share or post something, it’s out there. You might not be able to see it anymore if you delete it, but there will be a trail and it’s a digital footprint that leads back to you. I’m not saying we should stop altogether, that’s never going to happen. But perhaps we should all start thinking a bit more about the footprints we are leaving in this virtual world. Let’s try and make sure they are footprints to be proud of. They will be your online legacy one day and that’s something to really think about.
Do you ever think about your digital footprint? Are you concerned about what might happen to your online accounts when you die? Let me know in the comments.
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