What is your digital footprint?

Even if you never personally go online in any form, you probably still have a digital footprint. It could even include video of your teaching, taken with a student phone and uploaded onto a website. Shutting your eyes to the web is not enough to maintain a positive reputation.

I suggests you check out your digital footprint.

Do a Google search on your name—and don’t forget to search for images, video, and blogs, all possible on Google. Check for your name on YouTube. For a look into the “deep web,” try http://www.pipl.com You may find more of a footprint than you imagined.

Your digital footprint—and reputation—is built in two ways:

  • One is active—the blogs, articles, photos, videos you post.
  • The other is passive—what others put on about you.
  • All of it is permanent because of the nature of the Internet.

If something terrible and untrue is said about you, you may be able to get the website to take it down. However, it is still out there. It could be on personal computers where it was already downloaded. Much of the web exists on digital archives, even after data is removed from the source website. Taking content down in one place does not remove it from others.

Building and maintaining a positive professional online profile requires active work. If you allow yourself to be identified entirely by what others post, you have no control over your online identity. With an active participation you can develop a positive presence that will help to balance whatever else is out there.

Of course, when you are active on the web, you can do a lot of damage to yourself, beware of:

  • Inappropriate e-mail to a student
  • A candid shots of provocative behaviour
  • Sharing an inappropriate post on your Facebook page
  • Beware of your visibility on any social network

With all the possible negatives, one might think you are better staying off the Internet. Not at all.

The rule should be that as you are writing, sharing images, or videos, imagine that everyone will read it or see it, including your boss and mother.

Next Step: Read these articles.

  1. How to Build Your Digital Footprint
  2. Developing an Influencer Plan
  3. Using LinkedIn Effectively
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