Why Your Digital Footprint Matters
Your digital footprint is a detailed portrait of you – online. Understanding your digital footprint and how it works is crucial. Here’s why.
What you say and do online leaves a trail.
That trail includes what you post, as well as what is posted about you online. It also includes content you interact with, and your greater social media activity.
All of this data makes up your digital footprint, and it can impact you professionally.
Like it or not, you are judged and critiqued based on what others read and see about you online. Worse, you won’t have an opportunity to clarify the content.
You may not even realise how much of your digital footprint is publicly available, viewable and accessible through a rigorous search.
The Internet & the rise of social media
Digital media is now an indispensable part of everyday life for people the world over. 3.8 billion people now actively use social media. There are now 4.5 billion active Internet users. The average person spends 6 hours 43 minutes online each day.
Humans have an inherent need to connect and share information. Research suggests that 80 percent of all social media posts are announcements about a person’s experiences.
Trends in social media
Where previously social media was a realm inhabited by teenagers connecting and sharing, people of all ages now use social media to follow news, to network, to search and to conduct business.
2020 has even ushered in some trends of its own:
- Rising prevalence of cancel culture – online shaming and the boycotting of people and organisations due to perceived wrongs.
- Reduced separation between personal and work life – increasing pressure on employers to sack employees due to personal actions affecting business brand and reputation.
- Embracing authenticity – the influencer industry has embraced genuine perspectives and their followers and business are following their lead. This is leading to people being more honest online.
Response from government & business
Governments and business have been fast to respond to the rise of social media. Keeping up with the changing nature and behaviours of these platforms has been a constant effort. One new way organisations are using social media is to manage risk.
Examples of how social media is used by government and business to manage risk include:
- Recruitment – using social media to screen candidate’s digital footprint in order to reduce financial and reputational costs associated with bad hires.
- Human Resources – protecting the brand, culture and reputation of an organisation by assessing a candidate’s digital footprint to identify behaviours that are not aligned to their values.
- Government – using digital footprint checks as part of a whole of person risk assessment during a security clearance process.
It is clear that digital footprint checks are becoming a part of the screening process for a range of business processes. People will use your digital footprints to make decisions about you. So, have you checked your digital footprint?
Interested in checking your own digital footprint?
CheckSocial is an online intelligence platform that automates digital footprint checks and online investigations. You can view our approach, or you can start a conversation about how we can help meet your online intelligence needs.