(This was imported from my damaged site) Sunday, March 23, 2008
What is a digital footprint? What is the power of leaving a digital footprint? Why should we want to leave this footprint? Unlike footprints left in the sand at the beach, our online prints often linger around long after the tide has gone out. As more internet users become familiar with the idea of authoring and posting content online, they have also become more aware of the information that remains connected to their name online.
In 2007, a study was conducted and found users are becoming more aware of their digital footprint; 47% have searched for information about themselves online, up from just 22% five years ago.
There are two different types of digital footprints: Active and Passive. Passive footprints are not created deliberately by the user. This is information uploaded to the internet by way of companies providing public information. An active digital footprint is very different. It is the deliberate creation of this footprint. Facebook and MySpace are perfect examples of this. Bloggers write about their daily activities, include photos and movies to carve out their prints.
It is interesting to note that for all the content created on the internet in pretty much any forum: blogs, wikis, myspace, twitter, flickr, delicious, facebook, and the list goes on and on that wikipedia does not have an entry for Digital Footprint. So I decided to create one http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_footprint I left it simple on purpose. My hopes are that many people will visit and edit so that it grows and grows allowing individuals to create their digital footprint on the very place that defines digital footprint.
Parents and educators need to be aware of what an active digital footprint is and teach their students/children responsibility and the appropriateness with this power. Our children can become published authors with a simple click. If we don’t teach them the lasting affects of their work we are doing them an injustice. Publishing work is a wonderful thing. Students and children should write and read as much as they can on the internet, but it is the content that requires a conversation and best modeling practices. In July 2007, Will Richardson blogged about digital footprints and how colleges look at it for admission. And if we don’t share with our students/children that colleges, potential employers, potential mates can use the way back machine to see archived sites as discussed by Alan November then again we have failed to give our kids a thorough 21st Century education.
It is important to encourage kids to use the internet as a social networking tool, publishing tool and research tool but it is as equally as important to teach them safe and appropriate use. Ignoring this role is ignoring the fundamentals of their way of learning, sharing, communicating and collaborating.