Considering the Digital Footprint

Thoughts about living in a world where digital footprints are almost unavoidable for most people.

The first time that I really considered the impact of the digital footprint was when I had posted a picture of my daughter on my facebook page and someone who was a friend of my wife had posted a comment that was crass and inappropriate. (My daughter was standing holding a playground equipment and the woman made a reference to “poll dancing”).  besides making my Poppa Bear blood boil, I had a realization that this footprint that I am creating, not only for my self, but for my daughters.  Their entire lives are online… is that right? One blog post said, “A staggering 92% of American babies have an online presence…”.  This is incredible.  The blog continues by making the effect of the massive footprint, “Children born today will have every aspect of their life recorded, uploaded, backed up, forwarded and publicized completely without their consent.”
Now as a father I want to protect my daughters, does that mean we move to the mountains, eliminate what we can and live in a cave?  Part of me thinks that would be refreshing, but not possible.  The reality is, the footprint is with us…so how are we going to live in order to maintain a positive footprint?  Are we going to build up our children to be responsible online, understanding the impact that their use of the web can make? We have to.  As the previous generations taught their children survival on the farms, or in the mountains, we must teach our children how to survive with their footprint.

What you discovered about your own digital footprint.

My footprint for the most part is pretty small.  I try to keep photos and information private.  I have also made it an important habit to limit how much information I share online.  Though I do have Facebook and Twitter, I try to utilize them for specific purposes.  Living overseas, Facebook has been so helpful to share with friends and family and visa-versa about life from across the world.  Twitter is strictly reserved for my professional development.  I try to not “cross contaminate” my private and personal lives between the two platforms.  That might sound archaic in a sense, but it’s a simple way for me to maintain my footprint.  

Final Thoughts

It’s interesting.  I saw this image come across my Facebook feed:

This is a picture of the bacteria on a hand that has been grown in a petri dish.  Now think for a minute… if this was a foot…

Our digital footprint, like the bacteria on our hands can be both positive and negative.  The question is how are you going to take care of yours?


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