Your Online Trail

Googling yourself can either be a nightmare or a relief. When you search up your name on a search engine- or worse, when others search it up- everything that is attached to your name shows up. Whether it’s a picture you posted five years ago and completely forgot about, or it’s social media accounts that you made then abandoned, everything that you do online can be found by others.

Public Domain from Pixabay

It’s called a digital footprint. In short, your digital footprint is a trace that you leave behind on the internet. When you post a picture, leave a comment, visit a website or text others (basically, anything that you do online), you leave ‘footprints’ behind that can be seen by others.

If you are unaware and careless of what you do online, it will eventually harm you. A picture you posted that you thought was harmless could be the reason your job application is denied three years later. An offensive comment that you left on someone’s post can cause you trouble later on. Publicly announcing that you’re going on vacation could lead to your house being robbed. Which is why we must be very careful about our online privacy.

A simple way to avoid having a negative footprint is to not overshare. Posting your age, your pet’s name, where you live, your interests, where you’re heading for the summer, or where you ate last night is irrelevant to others and can be avoided.

Fortunately for me, when I googled my name everything that came up I was aware of and there wasn’t anything that shocked me. It was mostly my social media accounts and a website or two that I had activity on. I make sure that all my social media accounts are private, and I try not to post too many pictures. Afterall, I wouldn’t want strangers knowing everything about me.

If you’re wondering what traces you’re leaving behind on the internet, you can try searching up your name on google and hope that what shows up doesn’t make you cringe. Unfortunately, everything that you do on the internet is permanent, so deleting a comment or a picture won’t completely destroy it. However, you can try making your digital footprint more positive by watching what you’re sharing online. Before you post something, think: will it affect me in the future? Would I mind if my teachers saw it? Am I going to be embarrassed about it later? If it’s a yes to any of these questions, then you’re better off not sharing that information.

 

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