Tuesday, April 23, 2013

TSNT: Trace Your Digital Footprint!

Try Something New Tuesdays! Where have you been walking?

A digital footprint is the word used to describe the trail, traces or "footprints" that people leave online. This is information transmitted online, such as an online registrations, e-mails and, photos, attachments, uploading videos and any other form of transmission of information — all of which leaves traces of personal information about yourself available to others online.
Are you wondering about your digital footprint? If you are reading this, you have one! Anytime you are online you leave a digital footprint. The bigger your 'presence" the bigger the footprint. If you are concerned about your presence online there are ways to protect your privacy.
I'll start with the two most popular places you leave a digital footprint and links to explain what you can do:
Google: https://www.google.com/intl/en/goodtoknow/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/help/privacy
As we celebrated Earth Day yesterday, I began to reflect upon my own digital footprint. What footprints have I left behind? How do these digital footprints affect the environment?
Let's move forward with two things you need to know about your digital footprint:
1. The bigger the digital footprint also means the more energy being exerted. Mother Earth needs our help to conserve energy. Here are some ways you can do so with regards to your digital footprint:
  • Switch to the cloud. Encourage your workplace to consider storing digital assets in the “cloud”. Many data centers who have sophisticated cooling technology, are better able to match server capacity with demand and increasingly make use of renewable sources of energy. Organizations under 100 users, especially, could cut their IT carbon emissions 90% by switching to the cloud.
  • Choose efficient devices. According to the NRDC, much of the energy used in computing comes not from distant data centers, but from the devices we use every day. Efficient computers can use up to 80% less energy than their thirsty counterparts.
  • Check your power settings. Ensuring your computer automatically shuts down when not in use is the single biggest energy saving opportunity on most computers. Also double clicking on your iPad then closing out those apps you have opened saves energy!
  • Donate or recycle electronics. Much energy is expended producing and shipping electronic devices, so it’s vital to get as much “mileage” out of them as possible. Reusing electronics also keeps harmful metals and plastics from reaching landfills.
 2. Think about the future generation. Educate those digital natives about their digital footprints. Their shoe size is already bigger than their parents!
Many children have their pre-birth scans uploaded to the Internet by their parents – files that can be megabytes in size. Proud parents (and family members)  love to post pics and digital accolades about their cherished offspring and relatives. Seventy per cent of mothers said the ability to upload and share these pictures with family and friends was the motivation for posting information of their children online.(source)

"It's a sobering thought that while a 30-year-old has an online footprint stretching back at most 10-15 years, the vast majority of children today have an online presence by the time they are two years old – a presence that will then be built on throughout their lives," says JR Smith, CEO of AVG. "This digital history will follow an individual around for the rest of their life, and parents have to be aware of the privacy settings they have set on their social networking profiles – otherwise they will be sharing photos with the whole online world."

The internet is a great place to roam and walk around, just beware of who is following in your footsteps!

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