What is your digital footprint? In short, it is you. With as much time as we spend online today via all of our interconnected screens, our digital footprint is becoming more of a digital identity. Our digital footprints are all over the web and, unlike our friends and family that may forgive and forget, our digital footprint will always be there. Waiting to be found. Waiting to be used. Waiting for future employers, marketers and whoever else may stumble upon the data we so willingly share with the world…and this is not just the data you chose to share on social media.
Everything you do online contributes to your footprint. Even reading this blog. So now lets think about it, all of your online shopping, whether you have made a purchase or not, has left a footprint. Of course social media is a part of your footprint, from the pictures you load and delete to the posts you add and delete (P.S. In the digital world, nothing is deleted). All of the apps on your phone and tablet that require internet, you guessed it! It is part of your footprint.
With the emerging media and technology changing at every turn, our digital footprint truly is becoming a digital identity. Can you guess what yours says about you? Even with my high privacy settings, based on the marketing I receive, marketers have been able to gather a great deal of information about my preferences and lifestyle.
Marketers are able to leverage your digital footprint to market via your mobile phone, desktop, laptop and tablets based off of the information gathered in your digital footprint. In short, our footprints allow marketers to send us personalized messages based on what they know we are interested in and what they know we like and dislike.
While we will never be able to erase our digital footprint, prevent our footprint from growing or keep others from accessing it we are able to control many things that contribute. A survey conducted by Consumer Reports reveals that 62 percent of those online do nothing to protect their internet privacy. This does not mean that these consumers do not care about their privacy. In fact, 58 percent of those online are concerned about their privacy, but do not know where to start when it comes to the privacy settings available online.
Parents today also find themselves in a unique position. Tweens and teens have cell phones and are more savvy online than many adults. Marketing to children is bigger than ever and marketers are able to get a plethora of information from children’s interactions online. Marketers can use this information and reach them via their mobile devices. Reports show that parents are wary of not only the privacy issues surrounding the digital world, but the information available to advertisers based on their children’s online behaviors.
Is the information gathered in your digital footprint ethical? Is it right for employers, marketers and other institutions to use this information to learn more about you? We post and it and they find it. Should we focus on privacy or should our focus be on teaching our friends and children how to properly use the internet to leave a positive footprint?