by Laura Heap, on Jul 12, 2013

What is digital literacy?

Snapshot: In this post which focuses on digital literacy skills, we explore what a digital footprint is and what it means for you.


Your digital footprint is what you leave on the internet. It could be a comment on a blog, a twitter post or a photo. It is useful to be aware that it is not only you who contributes to your digital footprint.

Many things can make up your digital footprint. It is essentially the trail that is left behind you. If you create a social media account, for example, but then forget about it, it remains on the internet and can be found by anyone searching for links to you. Comment on a blog using your email address or real name and a link is made. Do you know what your digital footprint is? Try 'googling' yourself and see what comes up.

As we mentioned above, it's not only what you do on the internet that leaves a trail that links to you - others online can create content and link it to you as well. For instance,  if a friend posts a photo of you to a social media website and tags your name, you will be linked to that photo. Those holiday snaps or party photos are suddenly out on the internet and linked to you. Of course you can manage your own privacy and security settings to control your online image and this is essential in any social media you choose to use (see our section on Privacy and Security).

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The video opposite looks at students discovering their digital footprint.

An interesting article reflecting on digital literacy skills, footprints and learning networks:

Footprints in the Digital Age

Taking care of your digital footprint need not be too daunting however as you can set privacy settings and security on most social media sites.

The Open University have a short article on digital footprints:

Managing your online presence to enhance your career prospects

The LSE have a slideshare on how to benefit from your digital footprint:

Improving your digital footprint

This New Scientist article looks at how to monitor and make the most from your online presence:

Keeping up e-ppearances

Gihan Perera's short video looks at how to optimize your digital footprint by using a blog as your central hub:

Your online footprint

And finally, if it all goes wrong online and you need to delete your digital footprint, The Guardian have some useful tips:

How to delete your digital life