With more of our lives being broadcast all over the internet, our purchase transactions mainly happen online and the recent spotlight on Facebook over the past few weeks; it’s got me thinking again about my digital footprint.
What is a Digital Footprint?
“A digital footprint is a trail of data you create while using the Internet. It includes the websites you visit, emails you send, and information you submit to online services. A “passive digital footprint” is a data trail you unintentionally leave online.” ~ Tech Terms
As a blogger, it does go hand in hand that you share information on the internet. Some people are really comfortable with it, others not so much and that’s fine. Each to their own and we must always respect other peoples wishes.
For me, I have had concerns for a long time and I have often battled with it because part of what I do is all about sharing information online, but I have had moments where I haven’t felt comfortable with that. My blog is a mix of articles that are researched and based on personal experience but I don’t go too deep into things, I keep it fairly light. But sharing images of my children is something I have done and felt no issue with it until they started getting older.
The images are usually a few captures that I have shared once or twice a week to update what they have been up to. But why do I feel the need to share this with strangers? Is a question I ask myself a lot.
So I have decided to finally decrease to eventually stop sharing images of their faces online, even though most of my images are of them facing away or to the side. I just want to respect their privacy especially as they are getting older.
I have also been decluttering, I really love decluttering and living a minimalistic lifestyle as best as I can. It doesn’t just stop physical items either, you can also declutter digitally.
Here are some ideas on how to digitally declutter and cleanse your digital footprint.
Google Your Name
Google your name and see what appears in the first few pages. Check you are happy with the association and if you aren’t, ask the website contacts for your details to be removed. If you are an influencer or looking for a new job, you want to make sure you look good digitally.
Delete Old Accounts
Where possible, ask to have your details removed from accounts you have opened. These could be old store cards, online shopping businesses, reward services and so on. If you are no longer using those companies, have your details removed.
Unsubscribe from email lists that no longer serve you. You can use an app called Unroll.me – it’s really easy to use and saves so much time.
Privatise Your Social Media
Obviously for pro bloggers, social media influencers and businesses; you can’t lock your account unless you feel happy enough to do so. By locking your account, it adds a layer of security to your profile. I keep my Pinterest, Facebook Page, Instagram and Twitter open to everyone and I have my private Facebook profile locked.
Change Your Ad Preferences On Facebook
I have just changed all my settings on Facebook, I have ensured I can’t be targetted for ads but you don’t need to go that far. You can change settings using this tutorial from Facebook.
I have also cleansed other areas of my Facebook including pages I liked, groups I am in and pages I no longer manage/need etc. As well as this I have also deleted some images and kept it to a minimum.
Delete Temporary Internet Files
Your computer will store web pages you have visited and ads will be targeted accordingly. In a world where it feels like we are being “sold” to all the time, you can switch it off. this also keeps your computer files tidier too. It’s also good to clear your browser history on a regular basis too.
If you haven’t already, get some kind of security on your phone and computers. I personally choose Norton and I have it on my phone too. It also scans for files that can be deleted and keeps it all generally tidy and safe.
Think twice about what you share on social media and comments on blogs. Once you have thrown the stone, you have put it out there. Your words will be seen by others.