3 Steps To Check Your Digital Footprint
Written by Dan Holman
In this article, we’ll explain how to check your own digital footprint.
Chances are, you landed here because you’re curious about what others are able to see about you online.
Or, perhaps you’ve been told that you’ll be going through a digital footprint or social media check as part of an application process.
The good news?
You’re in the right place.
Even better, by checking your own digital footprint, you’ll have an opportunity to review and fix any content that you didn’t realise was out there for everyone to see.
1. Start with Google
Search engines crawl and index websites, so the first step to understanding your digital footprint is to start there.
This will help you to see what social media accounts and web content are linked to you.
Googling yourself involves entering information such as your name, location, phone number and email addresses into the search bar.
Each of these keywords is then used to match on content that Google indexes.
Some helpful tips:
- To minimise false positives, place your name inside quotation mark
- Try using different combinations of keywords to get the best results
- Add additional attributes such as your location
- Note down any social media accounts that you find
- Record any awards, publications, news articles or web sites where you’re mentioned
2. Review your social media accounts
Now it’s time to visit each of the social media accounts that came up during your search.
Remember: you’re trying to simulate what a public visitor would see, so ensure you’re not logged into your profile.
Review the profile information and content that is visible, including photos, videos, posts, likes, shares and comments.
Make note of any content that doesn’t align with the image you are looking to project online.
Finally, log in to any other social media accounts that you’re aware of and haven’t already reviewed, and repeat the process.
Platforms like Facebook even allow you to view your own profile as a public user.
Where this isn’t possible, you can create another account on that platform and visit your initial profile.
Note: don’t view your profile from a friend’s profile, as they’ll be able to see more content than a public visitor.
3. Check web content
After you’ve finished reviewing your social media accounts, it’s time to review any web content matches that you noted from your Google search.
Visit each piece of web content and review it. Note down anything that is out of date, is incorrect, or you do not want to be publicly visible.
Cleaning up your digital footprint
In today’s hyper-connected world, having some sort of digital footprint is inescapable.
However, you do have some control over the way that others perceive your online persona.
Most platforms allow you to control security and privacy settings, so you can limit who can see your profile and the content you post.
Where this is not possible, consider deleting the content from the platform, or closing your account entirely.
In cases where you’ve identified web content you believe to be incorrect or out of date, contact the owner of that website to have that content removed or corrected.
Finally, beyond removing content that doesn’t align with your image, think about ways you could add to your digital footprint and ensure that others see you in the right light.
- Updating your LinkedIn profile to ensure content is current and compelling
- Get involved with relevant conversations on Twitter
- Write an article about something you have expertise in
Save time and have us check for you
Interested in knowing what is in your digital footprint and cleaning it up but don’t want to spend the time searching or would prefer us to do it for you?
Learn more about CheckSocial’s personal checks here.
CheckSocial is an online intelligence platform that automates digital footprint checks and online investigations. You can view our approach, or you can start a conversation about how we can help meet your online intelligence needs.