Leaving Digital Footprints

We are living in the Modern Digital era where social media or an online presence is the key to survival. Your online presence makes it possible for you to form a strong, direct and emotional connect with your target audience.  Whether with prospective employer or suitor the target audience could be varied.

The word “Digital Footprint” refers to a trail or footprint that you leave online.  These footprints can be made using social media, forum registration, emails, attachments, images or more.

In today’s day and age, some of the common places we leave our digital footprints include:

  1. Websites: Visiting different websites and online shopping has become a common practice in our daily lives.  Many retailers leave cookies in your system to track your movement.  This helps them collect data about you as an individual or as their prospect or existing customer.
  2. Social Media: You are leaving footprint on social media with every move you make.  Something minor as clicking the +1 buttons, re-tweeting, commenting or liking a post are also being tracked. This would be on Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn.
  3. Mobile Phones/Tablets/Laptops: Websites such as an e-commerce site may track your footprint to understand all the devices you use to visit their website. This helps them define their target audience and understand their behavior.

Impacts of your Online Presence

For College Admission:

  • 26% of college admission heads research an applicant on Facebook before confirming their admission.
  • 27% of admission committee officers look the student up on Google to decide whether to give them admission or not.
  • 35% of these applicants are denied admission due to their negative online presence.

For Job Employment:

Each employer has set criteria for the candidates in their mind, before starting the interview process.  They set these benchmarks based on the job profile or level of the opportunity.

  • Physical presentation: This includes how you are dressed, how confident you appear, the way you sit or your approach to a question. Thus, being sloppy will damage your impression on your future employer.
  • Social Behavior: These employers want to ensure you will fit into their corporate culture in a positive manner. Hence what you upload on FB, Linked in and other social media sites matters.
  • Fitment of the candidature: These businesses are more focused on how well you know your work and can carry out the operations.
  • Well Rounded: These employers are generally startups or small businesses seeking individuals who can multi-task in different domains simultaneously.

In today’s digital world, most of the companies cross check the candidate’s online presence before confirming them for an opportunity.  Some of the aspects of a candidate’s personality which leads to the confirmation of their employment include:

  • Candidate conveyed a professional image.
  • Background information confirmed applicant’s professional qualifications.
  • Candidates was well rounded with varied interests
  • Other people posted great references for the individual

Some of the online reputation that caused disqualification or rejection of a candidature are:

  • Candidate posted inappropriate image or information
  • Evidence of the applicant drinking alcohol or taking drugs
  • Poor written communication skills
  • Having invalid recommendations on LinkedIn
  • Discriminatory comments made by the individual related to race, gender or religion

Now that you understand the importance of having an online presence and the impact it can have on your life, let’s focus on creating a positive footprint. Here are some of the best practices you must follow:

  1. Be real and original: If you are trying to establish “your” online presence, it’s important to use your real name instead of a fake one.  Many sites have rules that you must use your real name else they block your account at some point.
  2. Be Consistent: You must be consistent with your efforts online.  Frequent updates and engagement is required to strengthen your awareness and establish your personal brand and identity. It is also recommended to continue with the same account / username across all platforms.
  3. Share meaningful content: It’s vital to think about the validity of the content before sharing it with your target audience.  Your content must be genuine, original and relevant to them.
  4. Be Respectful:  Keep in mind that your voice is being heard by the entire world.  So, think twice before writing something.  Make sure your comments or actions don’t impact or offend others.
  5. Make your presence across various social media platform like FB, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter and ensure consistency of posts and make sure what you uploads are relevant and reflects you positively.