What is a Digital Footprint and How To Protect It? [2024]

Last updated on January 6th, 2024 at 06:47 am

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Most people don’t know what a digital footprint is or are concerned about their own digital prints. This article focuses on both aspects, ensuring that you grasp it thoroughly and learn how to better handle it.

What Is A Digital Footprint?

While using the Internet, we left a trail of information, you can trace back. You have a distinct digital footprint encompassing all of your online communications and activities. This includes the information you provide to websites, the emails you send, the pages you create, and much more.

A social media post on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram is an example of a digital footprint. This post has been added to your online print. Your trail grows as you interact more online. This includes when you visit a website or enter data via an online form, for instance.

Definition of Digital Footprint

A digital footprint is a mark you leave on the Internet as a result of your online activities, such as browsing, interacting, chatting with people, and publishing material on the internet.

The trail of data left behind by using the Internet or digital devices is referred to as a Digital Footprint. The digital footprint of any person can have a positive as well as a negative impact on him/her.

In other terms, it’s the data trail you leave behind while browsing the Web.

Why is Digital Footprint Important?

A digital footprint is critical because it reflects who you are online. It’s a construct of your reputation and personality, which impacts everything from your job prospects to your chances of finding love😉.

It makes sense to present in the same way we do offline because we spend so much time online. It’s just as tough to fix significant mistakes online as offline. Keep this in mind when writing emails, tweeting, or blogging.

What Is A Good Digital Footprint?


The first and most crucial thing you can do is, figure out what kind of impression you want to make. This must be done before opening new social media accounts or starting a blog. Think of every new online post or contact as a chance to shape your identity.

Determine which areas you’d most like to be a part of. Once you’ve decided where to post, devise a strategy for posting. You may learn a lot from other people’s mistakes and use that knowledge to your advantage.

It’s not uncommon to see successful people promoting themselves online. Based on their online behavior, you can get inspiration for your own strategy. Once you’ve made a name for yourself online, think about how others might perceive your online presence. When in doubt, go back and tinker.

Continue to build your online presence with self-assuredness, accuracy, and rigor. Don’t keep it around if you don’t want to be judged by it. Make the most of it.

How To Avoid Digital Footprint?

It’s not always straightforward, but it is feasible to clean up your online reputation. Search for yourself online and see what you can find. For example, suppose your social media footprint is unfavorable.

In that case, you can take efforts to erase it or, if it’s a positive one, you can evaluate your privacy settings to make sure they’re up to date. Even if you can’t get rid of all of your bad online reputation, you can work to improve it over time.

Think twice before posting or sending anything online, and treat others online the way you’d like to be treated. Keep an eye out for postings or comments in which you have been tagged and take action to remove them.

There are several advantages to using social media, including educating yourself, raising awareness, sharing knowledge, and getting assistance. Leaving a pleasant digital trail can also help you establish a reputable professional brand. Think outside the box and come up with new ways of doing things. Also, just be pleasant and social.

There Are 2 Types of Digital Footprint

As a starting point for understanding how your digital footprint is formed, below are some of the most critical considerations:

Active Digital Footprint

What we post on social media and on other websites is a part of our digital footprint. Every online form we’ve filled out, every type of profile we’ve created, and a whole lot more could be included here.

Every online transaction necessitates the submission of personal data, isn’t it? The amount of personal information that we give up when booking flights and hotels, buying clothes, joining up for free online sessions, and much more adds to a vast quantity of personal data in a world as connected as ours. There are innumerable activities and information in our digital routine stored and kept for future use.

When it comes to tracking our internet activity, Google has been the king of the hill for years. Following the rise of social networking websites, the active footprint has also changed significantly over the last two decades.

When Facebook decided to join the data party, it decided to go one step further and allow users to submit their own information instead of just monitoring and researching their behavior.

Passive Digital Footprint

For the rest of us, there’s the passive digital footprint. Even if we remove our browsing history on our computers, the websites and analytics programs collecting this data will still have access to this data long after we’ve deleted it. The “Digital Exhaust” is a fitting name for our passive footprint, which is documented and examined at every stage.

One benefit of GDPR is that it has raised awareness among internet users worldwide about the prevalence of websites that track their visitors’ online activities through the use of cookies. Unfortunately, because this is the practice of the vast majority of websites, the cookie alert has lost much of its original purpose.

As a side note, it is essential to note that these alerts have more to do with ad personalization and that disabling cookies on our browsers will severely limit the amount of time we can spend online.

Examples Of Data In Your Digital Footprint| How Is A Digital Footprint Created

It’s not uncommon for an individual’s digital footprint to contain hundreds of objects, although this may seem impossible. How did this happen?

Some of the measures you can take to expand your digital footprint are discussed below. Six categories have been outlined: shopping, finance, health & fitness, reading, news, and social media.

Shopping Data

  • By joining the mailing list or registering for an account.
  • Creating a newsletter
  • Downloading and utilizing shopping apps

Financial Data

  • A credit card account can be opened;
  • Mobile banking apps can be used;
  • Stock purchases and sales can be made;
  • Financial magazines and blogs can be read and followed.

Health and Fitness Data

  • Sign up for a gym account(online & offline)
  • Subscribe to a health and fitness blog
  • Get medical treatment

Reading and News Data

  • Retweeting and sharing articles and information you find online
  • Subscribing to online news sources
  • Viewing articles on a news app
  • Signing up for a publication’s newsletter

Social Data

  • Social media usage on computers and mobile devices
  • Using your social media credentials to access websites,
  • Connecting with friends
  • Exchanging data and photographs with others are all examples of social media use.
  • Using a dating app or website

These are only a handful of the categories and acts that contribute to your digital footprint.

Why Is Digital Footprint Important

Our digital identity comprises both our active and passive footprints. It is subject to the scrutiny of various organizations and businesses, each of which applies its own set of standards for evaluation.

Soon, big data and artificial intelligence will draw even more insightful and accurate conclusions about us based on the information we voluntarily and naively contribute. Facebook now knows more about us than our closest friends do. While it’s fantastic to see how these technologies work, it’s frightening to think about how much our data and lives are being studied.

It’s also important to keep in mind that, despite our best efforts, our data is routinely moved, hacked, and traded across the Internet. Without our knowledge or approval, a wide range of businesses and organizations are now using it.

Some companies may use our data for legitimate purposes, while others may exploit it maliciously. There is no denying that being recognized instantaneously, having forms filled out automatically, and receiving customized items and sales is a digital advantage. To compete on an equal footing while also maintaining our right to privacy, we must improve our knowledge and take back control of our own personal data.

This shows a real need for tools that help us understand and manage our digital footprint. We need to put a stop to this.

So, tell us more about what you think of the digital footprint in the comment section below, and sure share this article with your friends and family members to make them aware of their Digital Footprint.

Digital Footprint Explained By NordVPN

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What does Digital Footprint mean?

A digital footprint is a piece of information left behind by people when they surf the internet or visit any website and enter any kind of information. Digital footprints are of two types: Passive Digital Footprint and Active Digital Footprint.

How can your Digital Footprint affect you?

Digital Footprint can have impacts on many areas of a user’s life, including missed career prospects, public sharing of personal information, and destroyed relationships. It can affect users in different ways, depending on the type of digital footprint they left behind. 

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1 thought on “What is a Digital Footprint and How To Protect It? [2024]”

  1. Nice post. I learn something new and challenging on websites I StumbleUpon on a daily basis. It will always be helpful to read through content from other authors and practice a little something from their websites.

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