I have come to the conclusion that a digital footprint is the unfortunate occurrence that Internet users have for trying to expand horizons by trusting in the privacy of the Internet (or it's the evidence of any use of everything in the digital world).*
I've recently realized that it's hard to not put a lot of my personal information on the Internet. From entering my full name to sign up for a website or filling out college surveys online, I now know that the Internet holds where I live, my full name, and possibly many private conversations I've had with my best friend Kayla. I don't have a Myspace or Facebook anymore, and it's creepy to know that all that information is still floating somewhere in cyberspace.
I think it's important to set standards for myself while using the Internet. It's such a big part of our society that it can be used for good and evil, and I need good ethics and major caution to guide me through. I need to use common sense when putting which information and how much information. If I don't, I am really afraid that my life might turn into a teen rape story that will end up on the headlines of the news. My standards are listed below.
My creed for:
Email/IMing: I usually don't fill out any more information than my name, country, and state. When other things are required, I fill in fake numbers or names. I try not to put my cell number in Emails or chats because you really never know who's on the other side collecting the information. I didn't realize that the digital footprint also includes full text Emails. Which leads me to...
-Online gossip: I thought Email would be more private than talking in person because the person who you're talking about can't possibly find out (unless they're a really good hacker). I guess there's always a way people can find out; so, it's better just not to say anything bad (like "Oh my goodness, do you know what she did?!" kind of thing) because according to Galatians, you will reap what you sow.
Social sites (i.e. Blogger, Wix, etc.): None of "What time are we going to meet at Ala Moana tomorrow?" for everyone (like sick rapists) to see. I would never put my daily routine on there either because you never know who wants to know (for a sick reason).
Filling out college apps./surveys online: When entering my address is required to be able to receive information on a college, I always make sure it's not a fake website. For college-help sites like Fastweb, I usually just enter my real name, enter "U.S.", "HI", and for the rest, I leave it blank or just enter a zip code for another city.
Illegal downloading: I haven't watched/downloaded illegal movies on the Web. I just don't.
"Digital Footprint." Wikipedia. 13 Jan. 2009
"Digital Footprint." Webopedia Computer Dictionary. 13 Jan. 2009