Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Digital Footprints

We have embarked on times that are no longer as forgiving as they once were. Our footprints are no longer erased from the sands of time by the forgiving tide of life. In earlier times it was far easier to erase, forget or forgive a negative comment, action or attitude. Today we are held at the mercy of the very technology that was created to make our lives easier, machines without the compassion that makes us human seems to hold us accountable for every mistake we make. I remember when "to err" was human and forgiveness was a virtue.
Every beverage we consume makes us a potential alcoholic, every comment we deliver make us offensive or chauvinistic, every place we are seen defines our character, every raised hand makes us abusive every post that we 'like' we are accused of experiencing or have been through, and the mistakes of your friends define who you are. Life under a microscope isn't all that fun now is it? Even if we try to escape one slide, we are bound to end up in another one, for observation at a later date.
We cannot avoid what others may say about us, but we can, to an extent control what we put out about ourselves and how we 'brand' ourselves. We must remember that once we have posted something online or even emailed something to someone, that it will now be in cyberspace forever and we have essentially lost control of where these messages may end up. We have to assume responsibility for our digital footprints . We also have to practice netiquette
More employers can look at potential, or current employee's digital presence and persona by simply using any online search tool. It's not a bad idea to set up an alert for whenever your name is used. One such tool is Google Alerts which allows you to see on a daily basis what, (if anything) is being said about you out there!

Within recent years, it has become almost impossible for someone to not have a digital footprint, we are in the age of information technology and most devices that have become common place in our lives make some mark on our virtual identity. People without (or limited) digital footprints can often be thought of as having something to hide so to speak.  I believe that the important thing is being proactive and diligent in managing one's online identity and we should use available tools to monitor our "e-selves" frequently. Remember that while netiquette is a guideline to courtesy and manners online, and digital footprints are the marks you make online to define your identity, the two can be combined to reflect you in a more positive or professional light. This is not only for consideration by digital citizens, but it is equally important for those of us who are aspiring to make that transition from a digital immigrant to a digital citizen.
Don't let your inevitable digital presence put you at risk nor at a disadvantage!

So as yourself before you hit that 'send' button .... Do I want that picture, comment or message out there for re-distribution and out of my control FOREVER?

Be vigilant!


Get Adobe Flash player

Badal,E. (CC) 2014.

No comments:

Post a Comment