The concept of a digital footprint has existed a long time, but people still fail to understand the basics. The data comprising your digital footprint is likely more comprehensive than you could ever imagine. Your digital footprint is left all over the world as you carry on every day life as a person or a business. While there are benefits to a positive digital footprint, you first need to understand the risks and scope of managing your digital footprint.
First, let’s talk through what is being generated about you. You are tracked in real time on endless data points so that a full profile can be created for your digital person. The footprint is the first step to assembling your digital person because it is often surrendered without your knowledge or in exchange for some nominal benefit. Also, this footprint data is easy to get. Two major categories of data in your digital footprint are:
Active – Your submissions, posts, likes, photos, genealogy, DNA. What others are submitting, posting, or liking about you.
Given the most recent press about DNA data, your ability to control your data has grown beyond a concern. (Read more on Bloomberg and Business Insider). It is paramount to start managing your digital footprint now. Otherwise, they might actually build the entire digital person with your DNA data – of course I say this with some fearful jesting. Ultimately, we should be the owners of our data, which means that we should also be able to delete the data, update, or never share our data if we choose.
Then, how do you manage your data. Unfortunately, it isn’t easy to clean up pesky digital footprints once you have left them behind. Start here:
After you clean up your mess, you can begin to use a digital footprint to your advantage. If you are building your business’s digital footprint, you can use data to promote your mission, charity, or product. As a person, you can begin to use your digital footprint to share your strengths or promote personal growth by learning where you fit into new opportunities.
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