You know that you have a "carbon footprint" -- what each of us contributes to greenhouse gas emissions simply by eating, traveling and other tasks of daily living. There's another "footprint" we are making every time we add something, anything, and anywhere on the Internet.
What's your digital footprint?
A study in 2010 by AVG found that babies as young as six months old already had an online persona. But AVG's 2014 study found that babies' digital footprints were appearing much earlier: 30 percent of parents surveyed reported posting sonogram images of their baby, before they were born.
Your digital footprint is the trail of data you leave online through your Internet activity, both active and passive. Active data traces are your intentional activity, like Facebook, Twitter and blog posts like this one, image and video uploads and other social connections and sharing. Through active data trails, you can take control of your digital footprint and create the online persona you want the world to see.
However, you are also offering data traces passively. This is the trail you leave behind through your online behaviors like visiting a website, Skype calls, emails, making online purchases, your app downloads and even your simple searches. It all stays online, essentially forever. For a great guide to online reputation management -- also known as digital footprint management (DFM), check out What Happens in Vegas, Stays on YouTube by Eric Qualman, best-selling author of Socialnomics