With all of the news about Europe nations pushing to enact and enforce right to be forgotten laws, I started thinking, again, about my digital footprint. I don’t think that many of us even think about our digital footprints. Do we even know what it is? Basically it’s everything about you online. It’s your social media accounts–many if which you probably don’t use and can’t remember how to login. It’s all of your email accounts. It’s your Facebook posts and your tweets. It’s the picture that your ex posted on Google+ when you were hungover. It’s genealogical information that your stepmother entered into the LDS database without your knowledge or permission. I think I’m getting the point across. It’s every piece of information about you that exists digitally. Much of it is under your control. A lot isn’t.
So the focus should be on controlling what you can. Delete unused and inactive accounts. There are services and apps out there like “Citizen Me” iOS that will do this for you or at least house the information for you in an easy to find place, but the best practice is always be mindful of what you are displaying to the digital world.
I’m hyper vigilant about my digital footprint. I control almost everything that I can. I’ve taken the time to write a biography that I display on social sites. It’s the same on every one. I try to keep the same usernames and profile pictures. But the biggest thing that I do is control the content. I don’t put things out there that will embarrass me or cost me jobs. I try to stay limited to who I am, or at least who I perceive myself to be. Everything that I post, publish, or display is true to that image and that perception. No obviously I can’t control public records so a speeding ticket or my divorce could be online. I can’t control what others post about me other than to ask them to remove it. They don’t have to comply though. I do what I can and I do everything that I can.
I created a Facebook page that outlines some strategies and tips to managing your digital footprint. I made it a while ago for a class on social network learning. I think it’s relevant here. You can view Strategies for Managing Your Digital Footprint here. My privacy, terms, and conditions for this site also adheres to this philosophy. I believe in this concept and I work had to keep my digital identity clean for my sake. I work hard not to slander the digital identity of others as well. It’s the right thing to do.