Your Digital Footprints

What is a “Digital Footprint” and why would you want one?

The phrase is used to reference a few things:

1) A.K.A. Digital Shadow (see NetLingo) – An individual’s trail left behind from their usage of electronic devices i.e.  internet, TV, mobile phone, etc… that can be used to study your online behavior (one of the justifications many people will use for staying off social media sites liked Facebook and LinkedIn).  Click to Wikipedia article

2) What a person would find out about you from searching online.  For most of us that would entail a LinkedIn profile, a Facebook account, maybe a MySpace page and possibly some recent donations you made in the online copy of your Alma Matter’s yearly publication.  Read how Kendra Reddy from the Financial Post describes using someone’s “digital footprint” to gather additional information before a job interview. Financial Post Story: How Revealing Is Your Digital Footprint.

3) Lastly – when it comes to a company’s digital footprint, the phrase is used to describe how far of a reach your company has online.  For example, when you Google your company’s name, how much comes up?  What can a potential consumer or client find out about you online before deciding to do your business with you or your company.

This last definition leads into the answer for “Why would you want one?” – without one, the potential customer is increasingly apprehensive about your company when they initiate the call, IF they call.  Many consumers now are choosing to research a company’s digital footprint before deciding who to give their business to.  Does the company have a Facebook page?  Are the things they’re supporting in line with what I support?  Do they represent themselves in a fashion I would find appealing as a consumer?  Does it look like they started a blog, a Facebook presence, a Twitter account, but then gave up on the messaging?  Is that an indicator the company isn’t organized, they don’t know how to manage their time, and they may be spreading themselves too thin without giving more thought to a marketing strategy?

Now that consumer behavior has evolved to consider a company’s online presence in their decision making process, your company should not only have a large digital footprint, but your online presence should have a strategy, a focus and consistent targeted messaging.

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5 Comments

Filed under Digital Footprints, LinkedIn, small business, social media marketing

5 responses to “Your Digital Footprints

  1. good luck and keep in contact – updated definition for you.

    A Digital Footprint is the record of your interactions with the digital world and how the data that is left behind can be exploited.

    The interactions and data that create the digital footprint includes:-

    – The content a user leaves about themselves and the content that others leave about the user in the web. The user generated data and content includes blogs, comments left on public sites, photo’s or a profile up-loaded and content a user creates on a social networking site. The content left by other is the move from a user as a single individual to that user being part of the social group.

    – Explicit data from the interactions a user has with the web. This is where a users activities is captured, the types of details captured include web pages viewed, the frequency of visits along with the intervals between them, clicks, the time spent on each page, interactions with forms, landing pages, and downloadable content. In reality every click, mouse move, keystroke and interaction with the web (from a PC or mobile) can be captured and stored.

    – Implicit data or implied data such as IP address, who is ISP is, attention, location (physical and derived), reputation, context, call records, routes and routines, liking, friending, burst data, behaviour, and linking this (meta) data to other data.

    Digital footprints are made up from extremely personal and private data and is subject to strict privacy laws which provide strong protection for the user.

    The analysis of data is where the value lies and that value comes from behavioural analysis, profiling, targeting, prospecting, normalising, group profiling, feature profiles, benefit trades and determination of who influences you and who you influence.

    There is a detailed exploration of digital footprints at http://www.mydigitalfootprint.com

  2. There are four common uses of the phrase “digital footprint” and they all share two common characteristics which are that digital footprints are about your interactions with a digital world and that data left can be exploited.

    The most common definition of a digital footprint is the content you leave about yourself in the web. This is content you create for a blog, comments you leave, photo’s you up load or your profile and content you create on a social networking site. There is little difference between your professional profile and your personal profile.

    The second definition is created by adding the interactions you have with the web. This is where a users activities are captured, the types of details captured include web pages viewed, the frequency of visits along with the intervals between them, clicks, the time spent on each page, interactions with forms, landing pages, and downloadable content. In reality every interaction with the web can be captured and stored.

    The third definition is that a digital footprint is the content and captured interactions you leave and the content that others leave about you in the web. This is the move from you as a single person to you as part of the social group. This is what you say about yourself and others about you.

    The forth definition extends all the interaction to all devices and services including mobile, TV, iPod and m2m (machine to machine) http://mydigitalfootprint.com

    The forth definition in reality this is what is actually happening. It is possible that every interaction with every digital device is captured and stored. The value from the analysis of this captured data can be very high, indeed Google and Facebook are built on this data and the willingness of users to provide data.

    This extremely personal and private data is subject to strict privacy laws which provide strong protection for the user. The analysis of data is where the value lies and that value comes from behavioural analysis, profiling, targeting, prospecting, normalising, group profiling, feature profiles, benefit trades and determination of who influences you and who you influence.

    • Thanks for the comment, Tony. I had been using the phrase when I first started helping companies expand their presence on line with Facebook accounts, Twitter accounts, Google listings, blogs, LinkedIn events, MeetUp events, etc… so I decided to buy the domain name. Then I found out it’s also used to refer to an individuals technology trail, so to speak.
      I’ll be using the phrase to promote that businesses use social media to make it easier for potential customers to find them in a positive way!

  3. Hi, WordPress is happy to support Your Digital Footprints.

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