You probably know on some level that the Internet is forever. On another level, you’re on Facebook while you take breaks from work, you use the Internet to shop and make phone calls, you tweet, you search for information, you send and receive emails. All of this online activity leads to data. This data can be tracked, stored, and analyzed to make a portrait of you: your digital footprint.
Your digital footprint is added to every time you shop or even browse online. You may have noticed that after shopping for a certain product, Facebook will start showing you ads for it. Companies also usually have access to much of your social media pages. Your likes, your retweets, comments, all of it. Sites can also track whether you’re visiting them from your phone or tablet.
Your digital footprint can be useful–it allows you to stay logged in to sites you visit frequently, and shapes your search results around what you’re actually looking for. However, your digital footprint also can have some drawbacks. As with all personal data, keeping your digital footprint secure is a good way to prevent identity theft or financial loss. In general, knowing who has access to your data, and what they are doing is a good idea.
How to manage your digital footprint
- Be smart about privacy settings. If you’re not using your social media for networking or as a way to promote your work, you should consider tightening up security on your account. This can be great if you’re on the job hunt, or even just trying to stay under control of who can see photos of children or grandchildren.
- Keep a list of accounts. Setting up a list in Jazmine.com of all your accounts and passwords. Once a year, go through and make it a point to delete any accounts you’re no longer using regularly.
- Use a password keeper. You already know that you should have a different password for every account, but remembering all of those can be a pain. Use a password keeper to keep track of all your passwords.
- Go incognito. Consider using Google’s Incognito browsing mode when you’re doing online shopping. All cookies will be deleted at the end of your session, so you won’t be getting relevant ads for a while.
Being smart about your digital footprint can lead to a safer internet!