What Makes Up Your Digital Identity

Author: PeopleFinders on October 22nd, 2020
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Any time you go online, you add to what is known as your digital footprint, or digital identity. In short, your digital identity is made up of any and all information that exists about you online. That might sound scary from a privacy point of view, but it doesn’t have to. All it takes is a little mindfulness of where you’re going and what you’re sharing online.

It can also help to ask yourself the following questions: What are the various elements that comprise your overall digital footprint? And how do you make sure you’re doing all you can to keep your digital identity safe?

The following are some of the more common elements that you should be mindful of:

Search History

Wherever you go online, you leave a little trail behind you. You can see it anytime you click on your browser’s history. Having this information trackable makes it easier for you to go back to a site whose name you’ve forgotten. That can certainly be helpful. However, if someone shares your computer, you can both see each other’s history.


On many websites these days, you will see a “cookie statement” at the bottom of the page. They want you to accept their use of cookies, which is their way of seeing where you go on their site and what you are looking at.

The general purpose is to provide you with content relevant to your search. And cookies can also be used to populate targeted advertising after you’ve left the site. It’s something that has been going on for a long time, but now privacy laws require sites to tell their users about the use of cookies upfront.

Social Media Presence

This is probably the most obvious part of your digital identity. Every time you put up an image, like a video, add a follower, or comment on someone else’s post, it adds another step to your footprint. Given it’s public, outward-facing nature, you should keep in mind what you’re publishing and if it could compromise your basic privacy.

Online Accounts

Any account you have on the Web is part of your digital identity. This includes online shopping, banking, social media, and email accounts. For each, your log-in information as well as the actual details of the account itself (payment information, SSN, full account numbers, etc.) are part of your digital footprint.

Is Your Digital Identity Safe?

Upon recognizing how far and wide your digital footprint extends, your impulse may be to reduce that footprint. This is a good impulse. However, there’s no need to panic. Most sites with which you conduct business or otherwise provide sensitive personal information have programs and protocols in place to keep that information private and secure.

However, data breaches can and will occur, causing varying degrees of damage. To protect yourself, it helps to know just how far your digital footprint goes. Then, you can:

  • Make efforts to tighten things up by closing online accounts you don’t use anymore.
  • Go into your browser settings periodically to clear your history and cookies.
  • Check your social media and other online accounts to make sure that only the information you want to share is accessible by others.
  • Monitor your own personal information for any unexpected or unwanted changes.

Given how much time most of us spend online these days, it’s inevitable that our digital footprints would be quite far-reaching. But that doesn’t have to also mean that your digital identity is has to be vulnerable in the process. Knowing where you go online and taking some basic precautions as you go along can keep you safer as you continue to explore and use the Web.

For more information about your digital identity and other online privacy issues, be sure to check out all the articles available on the PeopleFinders blog.

Photo credit: Trismegist san – www.shutterstock.com

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Categorized in: Digital Identity