Create a positive digital footprint

CHICOPEE, Mass. (Mass Appeal) – One of the great things about being online is the ability to share videos and photos, but remember that anything you share may also be viewed by people you don’t know. Once it’s online, it could be there forever. Tech Expert David Ryan Polgar from joined us to tell you how to create a positive digital footprint.

Digital Footprint
Your digital footprint is the data that leave behind, like a footprint, online. Your data, consisting of status updates, pictures, tweets, articles, and blog posts, creates your online reputation. It is comprised of both what you actively put online, information that is passively compiled about you, and what others post about you.

Given that we often screen a person online before meeting them in person, one’s digital footprint is usually the first impression that is given. Employers and college admissions are widely known to screen an applicant’s digital footprint when making a decision. Court cases are also increasingly using one’s online information during trials. Your digital footprint can have a drastic positive OR negative impact on how you’re viewed.

Teenagers in particular struggle with the concept of a digital footprint because they are less apt of foresee the negative consequences of an inappropriate post or picture. While we may understand that an online post is public and searchable, the fact that we target a semi-private audience gives us a false sense of privacy.

In order to create a positive digital footprint, you should:
1. Assess (Google yourself. How is your online reputation?)
2. Define (What impression do you want to give off?)
3. Refine (Implement your defined reputation by posting appropriately, delete unwanted content, and push wanted content higher in a Google search.)
A frustrating area of your digital footprint occurs if you have a name associated with another person of ill repute. This person is your googleganger: someone who shares your same name, often leading to confusion.

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