On the Internet a digital footprint is the word used to describe the trail, traces or “footprints” that people leave online. This is information transmitted online, such as forum registration, e-mails and attachments, uploading videos or digital images and any other form of transmission of information — all of which leaves traces of personal information about yourself available to others online. Vangie Beal
I’ve been thinking a lot recently about my digital footprint and what it says about me. First and foremost I am a Christian. Unashamed and saved by His grace, however I don’t always include that in my bios. Anyone looking at my regular Facebook account can clearly see my beliefs, but you would have to dig a little deeper into my Twitter to see my personal religious views. Twitter is the foundation for my PLN and serves a different purpose than Facebook. As far as Instagram goes, I use it primarily for my small business and as such, it is a reflection of my business world. Other social media I engage in (more infrequently) are Snapchat and Google+. Then I think about all of the accounts that I have for the MET program at BSU. I probably have dozens of apps on my computer/devices from the course requirements over the past year. All of those apps, including my blog, reflect my learning and goals as an educator. All this to say, this activity is leaving an indelible mark on my digital footprint.
When I Googled my name, this is what I found on the first page:
Only the first entry on this page is actually linked to me! The rest of the entries are other ‘Joanna Liebermans’ that, as far as I know, I have no relation to. On the strip of pictures, the fourth picture is the profile picture I use for grad school and professional purpose. As I progressed to the next Google page, I found the first two items linked to two social media sites I occasionally use, Flipagram and Pinterest. There is then a listing for a fundraising link for a Joanna Lieberman involved with Project100 (not me). It is not until the fourth and fifth listings on the second page that my learning logs for the MET program are listed! These are followed by a few more listing unrelated to me.
I realize that a digital footprint is much more than what can be found by Googling a name. As Vangie Beal said in the above quote, our digital footprints, “describe the trail, traces or “footprints” that people leave online”. As a teacher and business owner, I must be mindful and careful about the footprint I am leaving behind. Privacy settings, tags, and comments must be monitored closely to be sure my integrity is held intact. One thing I am sure to teach this digital generation of students is, unlike a footprint in the sand, a digital footprint does not wash away with the ocean’s tide.