What is a Digital Footprint?
I using the above model/diagram to help explain the full context of My Digital Footprint, Your Digital Footprint and what digital footprints are about.
Starting from the blue loop at the top of the diagram. Knowing that your, our or my "Digital Footprint" is "What I say about myself" is a good starting point. However we must add how I act/ react to content and how my actions are then changed because others can influence me. This half of your digital footprint, what you say about yourself, is enhanced by information that your devices automatically add to content, location, attention, how I reached something, who sent me the content and who I send it on to.
Moving from the blue loop above the line, to the green loop below the line we add complexity to the definition of a digital footprint. "What others say about me" is as much a part of a digital footprint as what I say about myself. When data and meta data about how I react/ interact with the digital world is combined with what I say about myself we get close to what a full digital footprint is. Becasue of these complex inerlocked loops it is possible to see why you cannot control or delete your digital shadow.
There is no complete definition and this blog continues to quesiton, refine and define our understanding of a Digtial Footprint. If your interested in the creepy line and invasion of privacy try this post. What happens when you cross the line.
On it's own the digital footprint data has little value, yes it provides a representation (if open, honest and transparent) of the physical you, therefore can link to reputation and identity. However, you trade yourself and your data in the exchange for free web services (search, email etc). Knowing how to reach you and your interests and who you influence is some of the important value from your digital footprint but as we find out privacy and consent add complexity.
The core issue to be worked through are the unintended consequencies of sharing this data. The unknown:unknown.