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Digital Footprints, Publicity and Online Choices

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By: Iselin

December 27, 2018

In today’s society there are millions of people who utilize tools online to get to know others all around the globe. This includes voice calling, video chatting, texting, sharing posts and other fun things that are offered on online services. However, studies have shown that everything that is placed online is also a threat to stay there forever. Are we using the internet correctly, and should we be more aware of the traces that are left behind?

Using social media sensibly

There have been tons of times in my life where I have had to help friends to lock their profile down, hide it or help them remove publicity so others couldn’t get to it. This may come from various reasons, both personal and safety related. The thing is, if you create an online profile and dare to post and share opinions, you agree to people accessing, having the ability to view, share and make their own opinions. It is very important to understand who can access what whether you are an organization, an official site or an individual looking for attention. The only question that you need to ask yourself is; What is the purpose of what I’m about to do- and what can happen if I do it?

When applying for work, the first thing that I hear people talk about is whether their Facebook contains embarrassing information or not.  Employers usually go to online profiles to check what type of person you are and what you spend your time on. Relatives may then be afraid you have things put online that might affect how people see you as an individual. This is a huge warning of how ignorant we can be and how we sometimes forget the audience we are posting to, and as an educated user of the internet, I am ashamed of how people sometimes act. We often end up in public arguments with others online, which represents a negative side and vibe of who we might be. It could as well be as simple as a statement, but even the smallest things can ascend into bigger and more complicated discussions. It may lead people to look down on us in a less professional manner, showing less respect. This is why it is extremely important to give every trace you leave behind a second thought. As an individual that has grown up in a social media-based world, I believe courses should be given on how to act and use social tools online for the greater good. This includes how to talk, what to share and not, and a quick realization of the different factors within social media. There are too many examples online that indicate how much it is needed for the time being.

Social engineering and threats

However, it is not only online awareness that we should know of. Internet connectivity means anyone in the world can launch attacks on us. This includes people to have access to who we are and utilize this information for malicious purposes- and the social media is the honeypot for all personally identifiable information.

Social engineering may present as one of the greatest threats to confidentiality today, and it’s important to understand that everything posted on the internet remains there as a digital footprint. When you share things on social media you are making your private information public. That information can help provide to assist attackers to know things like our geographic location, contact information, close family relations, and even personality traits. To illustrate, imagine if a dog lover posts pictures of puppies and her Facebook says she is born in 2004, It would be natural for her password to be Doglover04 for instance. Another example of social engineering is when you are looking and searching for public and famous people online. Sometimes you find the real and official user, but there are also many impersonated accounts and fake pages that prevents you to find the real one. Even if you might not be the world’s most famous person, you could ask yourself; what would I do if someone stole my identity and impersonated me without my consent? This all supports my statement that the social media is the honeypot for all personal identifiable information and should be sensibly used.

Consequences and what to do

Ultimately, this is all ends up in a variety of consequences; Loss of job caused by negative impressions, identity theft, and impersonations, waste of energy on arguments or even as harsh as being bullied for who you act as a person online. However, there are tips and things you can do to prevent mistakes to happen;

Facebook, Twitter and Instagram all support features to make your profile private so strangers can’t access them. This is extremely useful and should be taken into consideration at all times. Social media accounts should be scanned and checked regularly for things that can be sensitive for others to see- which could be as simple as a picture with your family, just to prevent others to track your family members and/or where you have been. You can also talk to friends and close relatives about whether it is necessary to post and share what you are about to because second opinions from others are always useful in situations like these. Do not give in to the egoism of posting revealing body pictures and try to keep everything you post appropriate and light-hearted. In conclusion, always ask yourself if there is a need of posting the content, because you never know what or who you might stumble upon.


No one is an expert on social medias and never will be because the world keeps developing and improving. Sadly, there are no permanent remedies how someone can use their online information safe and sound. There will always be flaws in people’s actions whether it is habits, customs or simply laziness, and neither will we ever have the same opinion about the same thing. However, there are tons of ways to educate ourselves and realize how many dangers and consequences there are from expressing emotions, interests and other relevant posts in our life. In contract, it is important to always have in mind that everything we leave, will remain.


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