Earlier today, Will Richardson got me thinking about how important it is (will be?), to have an online presence:
The responses were thought provoking and the more I thought about digital footprints, the more I came to realize that the metaphor lent itself nicely to the idea of footwear. So here is a graphical representation of how your digital footprint might vary depending on the 'shoes' you wear:
Some people do their daily work in the online environment. These people generally know how to stay safe with steel toes and responsible online behaviour. They often leave lasting footprints.
There are those that are quite comfortable and uninhibited in sharing their lives online. Don't forget to think about the consequences of your behaviour.
In order to move rapidly and nimbly through cyberspace, some people use one common login and password at all sites they frequent. This can be a dangerous practice...
The Web 2.0 world is foreign to many who worry that their is no room for their ideas. Varied voices are welcome, you just have to be willing to begin.
Do you worry about how you will be perceived online? Looks are not as important as ideas in the online world. No matter who you are, your heels (and words) can leave deep and lasting impressions.
The right online presence can help you scale your way to career aspirations; but a false step, can bring you crashing down!
Having a professional online persona takes time and effort. By participating openly and ethically, you can develop an online profile that matches your professional aspirations.
When joining professional and recreational groups in the online world, be aware of what you are getting yourself into. Be prepared for what you may 'step in' on the read/write web.
Those who travel 'au naturale' can leave distinctive footprints. If you are always online as your true self, be careful where you step!
For further exploration of this topic, it would be worth visiting Will's resulting web post: "What, No Footprint?" or my own recent thoughts on this topic:"Take Ownership of Your Identity"