Due to changes in the way the digital world works, I believe that we are unable to control our digital reach. Digital reach refers to the number of unique individuals who view our content. Search engines have vastly expanded their reach and now include everything from images/videos to real-time results on Twitter (Madde & Smith, 2010). However, I think it is reasonable to say that those who know more about where and who their personal information is being shared are more likely to take-action and control their digital reach.
A digital footprint is the trail left by the actions one has made online including everything from a person’s browsing history to any photos/videos that they have uploaded. As a student I think social media is a great platform to allow individuals of any age to express themselves, collaborate and socialize with others, however I also believe that one must use these sites with care as once something is posted online it becomes part of our digital footprint forever. For this reason, I think it is important as social media users to manage our digital footprint by regularly checking and adjusting our privacy settings, not oversharing information on our social media accounts (Martin, Wang, Petty, Wang, & Wilkins, 2018), being aware of possible consequences due to online behaviour and also using digital tools to manage our footprint. Nowadays there are many browser add-ons that can limit the surreptitious capture of personal information (Doyle, 2018) that most people are not aware of, so it is important to use such tools to our advantage. A common act such as ‘googling yourself’ is one which can benefit us for monitoring our digital footprint. If we see something on google about ourselves that we do not like it causes us to rethink the posting of certain content online in the future and also to review our privacy settings on accounts such as Facebook where the information/images may have originally come from.
Doyle, J. (2018, April 8). 11 Tips For Students To Mange Their Digital Footprints. Retrieved from TeachThought: https://www.teachthought.com/the-future-of-learning/11-tips-for-students-tomanage-their-digital-footprints/
Madde, M., & Smith, A. (2010, May 26). Managaing the ever-expanding reach of our digital footprints. Retrieved from Pew Research Center: https://www.pewinternet.org/2010/05/26/part-1-managing-the-ever-expanding-reach-of-our-digital-footprints/
Martin, F., Wang, C., Petty, T., Wang, W., & Wilkins, P. (2018). Middle School Student Social Media Use. Journal of Educational Technology & Society, 213-224.