Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Review Your Digital Footprint

How to Review Your Digital Footprint -- tips to keep your online browsing safe and secure

Watch where you travel on the web and review where you've left your digital footprint. Every click you make can be recorded and analyzed in the blink of an eye.

There's been some talk among my friends about how their web habits have changed recently. They don't feel as comfortable being online these day. And, they don't know what kind of effect the web is having on their lives and on their futures.

Some friends are concerned because they believe careless online remarks can permanently damage a reputation. Others are concerned because social media seems to consume our lives. A few are glad the Internet wasn't around when they were growing up. And, most are concerned about being watched as they click from one site to another.

All of them agree, their web surfing habits are changing to a more cautious and thoughtful way of navigating in the online world to reap the benefits and avoid the risks.

Reasons to Review Your Digital Footprint


Read Coletta Teske's review of The Reputation Economy by Michael Fertik
In his book, The Reputation Economy, Michael Fertik tells us that "we've reached a point where the safest assumption is that every digital interaction you have is being permanently recorded in at least once place."

Think about how your web travels are recorded.
  • Websites use cookies to keep track of the pages you visit. 
  • Social media sites ask you to include personal information in your profile. 
  • Shopping sites store your contact and credit card information. 
  • Employers scan the resumes they collect into digital databases.
And the list goes.

When you add up all of the places you visited, all of the cookies you've collected and all of your online purchases, you have your digital footprint. Armed with your web surfing habits, any computer can crunch the data and make a prejudicial decision about the kind of person you are.

What can you do? You can either completely erase your digital footprint or conduct a digital audit to clean up your online profile.

Review Your Online Profile


Read Coletta Teske's review of the Guide to Rethinking Resumes by Richard N. Bolles
In the Guide to Rethinking Resumes, Richard N. Bolles tells job seekers that "you can manage or remove anything online that might disturb a prospective employer, prior to that employer's Googling you."

Over 90% of employers check an applicant's "search engine resume" before they consider interviewing that person. Many of these searches reveal some reason for an applicant to be rejected.

There are several ways to clean up how you appear in the search engine results.
  • Type your name into every search engine and delete those posts that appear unfavorable. 
  • Scan your social media profiles and delete questionable posts. 
  • Use a service such as Reppler.com to review your social media accounts and find posts that you might want to delete.

Clean Up Your Online Profiles


If you want a fast and easy way to go through your major social media accounts and see how well you're scoring, check out Reppler. Reppler scans your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Picasa, Flickr and YouTube accounts to give you an impression score, a list of your inappropriate posts, a look at your online profile and a notice of any security risks.


These are my results on Reppler (I've blurred the images for my network of friends). Even though I have always been careful about what I say and what I post online, it's still easy to mention something that may be considered inappropriate by others.

Reppler provides more explanation for each of areas, just click the MORE link for each section. You'll find tips to improve your image score and secure your social media accounts.

These are just a few of the ways to give yourself a digital footprint checkup. Have you changed your web browsing habits as data collection on the web has become more sophisticated? What are you doing to cope in this new world of digital data collection and data analysis?



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

5 comments:

  1. Unfortunately many of the people who social network are under 25 and their judgement hasn't fully developed yet. They make a My Space profile, graduate to Facebook, and forget all that stuff they left behind on My Space that tells a very different story about them. I had to warn one of my nephews to go back and delete that old profile when he graduated from college. I hope people heed what you've said here and use some of these resources you've suggested. I didn't even know Reppler existed. I think I'll be checking it out.

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  2. There are definitely times when I think the internet is a real problem for anyone and everyone. I really appreciate all of the research you have done for this article and all of the links you provided to help us check our own reputation and see how it would appear to others. As soon as I read it here, I checked my score on Reppler. Very interesting indeed! I haven't clicked the other links yet, but I certainly appreciate you giving them to us.

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  3. Thanks for some timely reminders. I'm off to check my reppier score.

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  4. We sometimes forget where we left our digital footprints online and I agree it is a good idea to do a search and find places we may have forgotten about and may now wish to delete. Besides keeping us safer online, I can see the benefit of periodically 'cleaning house', so to speak. to present a clearer image of ourselves online.

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  5. I can honestly say that I never gave this much thought until recently. This information is timely.

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