You ask yourself: What does the internet know about me? A lot of your data is collected on the web and stored for a long time. In our article, we explain the definition of the digital footprint and tell you what else you need to know about this topic. In addition, we show you how your digital footprint can even be influenced with the right measures.
According to the definition, the digital footprint includes all data that is created when surfing the web. Your digital footprint is therefore unmistakable, because all digital activities are mapped in it. This includes, for example, text contributions and postings on social media portals, but also your search behaviour in the web browser. Over many years, your digital footprint thus becomes more and more extensive.
The question "What does the internet know about me?" occupies us all from time to time. The extent to which information about you is stored depends entirely on how active you are on the web, what data you leave here and how carefully you handle it in general.
The search engine service Google in particular knows a lot about its users. This is intentional, after all, the company earns a lot of money with its knowledge by displaying advertisements that match the user's behaviour and characteristics. Google collects a lot of data, which a large part of the users are not even aware of. This includes, for example:
Google uses the enormous data collection to display personalised advertising. You can hide the unwanted advertising by installing an ad blocker in your browser. This way, you will be spared from advertising, but some functions will only be available to a limited extent.
Why is the digital footprint so important? The importance of the digital footprint is that it determines how you are perceived on the internet. Your digital personality can therefore have an impact on future career opportunities or the search for a partner, as your data can be evaluated online accordingly.
As everyone spends more and more time online, the digital footprint becomes more diverse. It is also permanent - because everything you do online is stored. This includes all negative things as well as all positive things you leave behind on the web.
You want to delete your digital footprint? Unfortunately, that's not possible. Because a lot of data that is once online can only be removed from the internet with great difficulty or not at all. This is especially true for data that has already been shared or saved several times by other users.
The internet does not forget websites, because it keeps deleted pages in the archive. It is therefore very important to take various preventive measures to present your digital footprint in the best possible way.
You may be able to hire a professional company to delete certain data. However, this is usually time-consuming, very expensive and not always successful. Everything that has already been downloaded and saved by other users (e.g. by download or screenshot) can be published again at any time without your knowledge.
If you follow a few tips, you can make your digital footprint a positive one in the long term. This way you can make sure that even after many years you still find it OK and don't want to delete things.
First determine for yourself how you would like to be perceived in the digital world. What kind of impression do you want to leave here? Professional and very serious or more of a personal blogger who likes to share his life with others? Keep in mind that the way you publish things will shape your entire digital personality.
Adapt your online profiles and projects so that you are perceived correctly as a whole. You can continue to develop your digital footprint and shape your digital personality.
Always behave online as you do offline. This means: Do not make any data available to other people or websites that you would not otherwise give out. What is private does not belong on the internet. Unless you explicitly want to share it with the whole world.
With all e-mails, blog articles and comments as well as social media posts, consider that they become part of your digital footprint and can hardly be removed. So ask yourself before each publication whether the information or files really suit you and your digital footprint.
How you communicate on social media is how you will be perceived by others. Therefore, make sure your style is as authentic and consistent as possible, avoid offensive statements and write your content without grammatical or spelling mistakes.
Always set everything in the security settings of social networks so that only authorised persons (e.g. friends or business partners) can see your data. In many portals, the settings are initially set to "public" and users have to adjust them manually to protect personal and private information and data.
If you use a VPN (virtual private network) for your online activities, you are also more secure on the internet. Thanks to encryption, you can surf anonymously and protect your data from unauthorised access.
By the way, a VPN is not only suitable for the computer, you can also use it to surf privately on your tablet or smartphone. Your actual IP address and your physical location can no longer be analysed by others. Alternatively, you can use various browser extensions (e.g. Ghostery) that securely hide your user behaviour.
Never publish information and data online if you are not legally competent. Especially when you are in a party mood and there is a lot of alcohol involved, you should never post pictures or videos without thinking. It's best to leave your smartphone at home when you're at a party.
What is a digital footprint? You can certainly answer this question sooner than the question "What does Google think about me?". Because it is not always so easy to determine what data the company collects from users. You cannot completely erase your digital footprint. However, with the measures and tips presented here, you can prevent yourself from leaving the wrong data on the internet. Make your digital footprint positive and always behave online the way you would like to be publicly presented and evaluated.