Digital Footprint Meaning In Computer, Types And Examples

Digital Footprint

You must have played the game of Hide and Seek. Well in the game you do your best to leave as little signs as possible when you’re hiding, right? That’s because you don’t want others to find you easily. Guess what, though ? You can similarly leave little signs online as well which are known as Digital footprint.

However, are you aware that these internet footprints which you’re leaving can be used against you ? That the third parties can trail your activities on the internet and get access to your data and personal information through that ? If you’re curious about how this can happen then this post will give you an insight on Digital footprint and some examples of digital footprint.

What Is Digital Footprint

Digital footprint meaning is whenever we are using the internet, such as filling a form, posting on social networking sites, leaving reviews or comments, system logins or logouts, emails, doing online shopping or simply surfing the web it can leave a trail of data behind. This trail of data is known as Digital footprint. Digital footprints are also known as digital shadow or electronic footprint.

How are digital footprints created

Your digital footprint is created by the collection of data that is left behind by you in the form of activities such as the websites you visit, the pictures you post, the comments you leave, and the things you like or share on social media. It’s kind of like your online identity. Just as footprints can show others where you’ve been, your digital footprint can give people an idea of who you are and what you’re interested in. Digital footprint is the collection of data of our actions and activities which we did over the internet.

Related Posts : Characteristics Of Big Data With Examples

types of digital footprints

There are two types of Digital footprints :

digital footprint

Passive Digital footprint – In Passive Digital footprint the user leaves the trail of data behind unknowingly. This is one of the types of digital footprint where the user is not aware and involuntarily contributes in sharing the information and does not know that the person’s data is being collected. Below are the passive digital footprint examples.

Examples under this type of digital footprint include : Browsing history, online shopping, the footprint may record the user’s IP address, the time it was formed, its origin, and later the footprint may be analyzed.

Active Digital footprint – Active Digital footprint is formed when the user shares the information purposefully and willingly. In this types of digital footprint the user intentionally fills in the details and data required by the websites or apps such as logins, making a post, etc.

Examples of Active Digital footprint are : This type of digital footprint include posting on social media, creating an account, website registration, accepting browser cookies.

Now that we have discussed types of digital footprint let’s have a look at how digital footprint affect us –

How digital footprint affect you

Below are are the various ways in which how digital footprint affects us and help you give examples how other can use your digital footprint.

  • It invades the user’s privacy. Without the user’s consent, personal information and data may be recorded and exploited. It is a great examples how other can use your digital footprint.
  • Anyone can interpret about you from your digital footprint like your personality, sexual orientation, likes and dislikes and even your personal psychological sphere.
  • The employers can access the data of the potential candidates. They can secretly check your online stuff and review your digital footprint before hiring you. Negative digital footprint can ruin the chances of getting a job. This is how companies can use your digital footprint.
  • Colleges check different types of digital footprint to decide if a student is worthy of admission or scholarships. Just one lousy post can reduce the chances of getting in or securing those scholarships.
  • Your digital footprint, including online shopping habits and financial interactions, can affect credit ratings and financial decisions made by banks and financial institutions. That’s why all the types of digital footprint need to be taken care of.
  • Companies use digital footprint to personalize content, ads, and recommendations. While this can enhance user experience, it also raises concerns about data privacy and manipulation. These are great examples how other can use your digital footprint.
  • Some companies monetize digital footprint by selling user data or using it to create detailed profiles for targeted marketing and advertising. They use your digital footprint to benefit themselves.
  • Understanding the affects of your digital footprint encourages media literacy and critical thinking about the content you see online. One should also be aware about types of digital footprint that exist.
  • For businesses and public figures, digital footprint impact brand image and public perception. Online activities, interactions, and responses to feedback all contribute to the overall perception.
  • A Digital footprint can be a big financial risk. Sensitive information online is like a magnet for identity thieves who can use your data and create fake identities. So, be careful what you share online. This give great examples how other can use your digital footprint.
  • Your digital footprint may indicate the amount of time you spend online and your level of digital addiction, potentially impacting overall well-being.
  • Your digital footprint can have legal and ethical implications, such as posting copyrighted material or engaging in online harassment. Therefore one should take necessary steps about knowing their types of digital footprint.
  • Geolocation data in your digital footprint may reveal your physical location and daily routines, potentially compromising personal safety if accessed by malicious individuals.
  • If you’re oversharing personal stuff on some sketchy website, you’re leaving various types of digital footprint that can cause trouble such as blackmail and even creepy stalking situations.
  • A Digital footprint can lead to serious cybercrimes like phishing and hacking. Cybercriminals have a tendency for exploiting your personal data and using it in all sorts of shady ways.
  • Revealed usernames and email addresses on a website can allow hackers to hack into the user’s account, exploit the user’s data and can also attack the computer system. This also give great examples how other can use your digital footprint.

Digital Footprint Examples

There are many examples of digital footprint which are formed as a result of activities we do over the internet and also in our smartphones and other devices. Let’s have a look at some examples of digital footprint –

Search Engine Queries

Search history – Your search history is one of the very obvious digital footprint examples. It includes –

  • Search engines retain your search history are included in examples of digital footprint.
  • Search terms you used
  • Websites you clicked on
  • Time and date of each search

Advertisements – Ads you interact with or click on search engine results pages also come under digital footprint examples and contribute to your digital footprint.

Online Purchases

  • Every time you make an online purchase it create many digital footprint examples which can be easily traced.
  • Your transaction details
  • The items you bought
  • Payment information
  • Shipping address

All of the above are the examples of digital footprint.

Social Media Profiles

Posts and Content

  • Your status updates are the examples of digital footprint.
  • Photos, videos, and articles you share on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Snapchat create are also examples of digital footprint.


  • Your likes are also examples of digital footprint.
  • Comments, and shares on other people’s posts contribute to your digital footprint examples as well.

Privacy Settings – The privacy settings you choose on your social media profiles can determine the visibility of your digital footprint to others. They set many examples of digital footprint.

Online Accounts

Online accounts and related queries like registration information are digital footprint examples.

Registration Information

  • When you create accounts on websites
  • Personal information such as your name, email address, username are examples of digital footprint.
  • Additional details like your date of birth or location

Account Activity – Your activities on these platforms, such as browsing history, product searches, interactions with other users, and purchases made, contribute to your digital footprint examples.

Online Communication

Email Conversations – Emails you send and receive, including their content and attachments, are examples of digital footprint.

Email Conversations – Emails you send and receive, including their content and attachments.

Blog and Forum Comments – Comments you leave on blogs, forums, or community websites come under digital footprint examples.

Digital Media Consumption

Digital media consumption are one of the significant examples of digital footprint.

Content Selection – The types of music, videos, and books a user chooses to consume online reflect their interests, building a profile of their entertainment choices are a great digital footprint examples.

Streaming History – Streaming platforms often keep track of a user’s viewing and listening history helping to personalize recommendations. They act as key examples of digital footprint.

Offline Media Downloads – Users who download digital media for offline consumption leave traces of their preferences and interests on their devices, even when not connected to the internet.

Geolocation Data

Location-Based Services – Geolocation data is captured when users enable location-based services on their smartphones or other devices through GPS, and Wi-Fi and form different examples of digital footprint.

Navigation and Mapping – Geolocation data powers navigation and mapping applications, helping users find directions, locate points of interest, and discover nearby businesses. They are also included in digital footprint examples.

Cloud Storage

Other examples of digital footprint include your cloud storage.

Cloud Service Preferences – The choice of using a particular cloud storage service, like Google Drive, Dropbox, or OneDrive, can also become part of a user’s digital footprint examples.

Cookies and Trackers

Online Behavior Tracking – Cookies and trackers collect data about a user’s online behavior, such as the websites they visit and the pages they view. They are one of the significant digital footprint examples.

Third-Party Tracking – These third-party trackers can follow a user across different websites, creating a more comprehensive picture of their digital activities.

Digital Footprint Checker

Digital Footprint Checker
Digital Footprint Checker

A digital footprint checker is a tool or service designed to help individuals in checking and monitoring their online presence. A digital footprint checker analyzes data from various sources and provide insights into the information available about a person on the internet. Some popular digital footprint checker tools are –

BrandYourself – It is an online reputation management platform and a digital footprint checker. It provides features such as monitoring search results, analyzing social media profiles, and tracking changes to your online presence.

Pipl – This digital footprint checker allows users to search for individuals based on their name, email address, or phone number and help them understand what details are accessible to others.

IntelTechniques – Their tools, like the Search Tool and Data Removal Workbook work as a great digital footprint checker and guide users through the process of finding and removing their personal information from online platforms.

Can digital footprint be deleted

No, Digital footprint cannot be deleted, however you can take necessary actions to reduce your digital footprint such as –

  • Review App Permissions Tighten up your privacy settings and put a lock to your digital house. Make sure who can see your posts, who can get access to your private information, posts you can be tagged in, etc. Use a digital footprint checker like Pipl to know how many have access to your private details.
  • Regularly Clean Up Your Online Presence – Unsubscribe old emails and newsletters you have signed up for. Cleanse your inbox and get rid of those unnecessary mails which you don’t need anymore. IntelTechniques is a great digital footprint checker tool for that.
  • Be Mindful of Sharing Personal Information Be mindful of what you share, think twice before clicking the post button. Be careful of the information you share online such as your address, personal information.
  • Avoid unsafe and sketchy websites These websites are designed to harm visitors. One should avoid these websites to prevent potential threats like identity theft, fraud, malware infections, viruses and improper use of digital footprint.
  • Manage Your Cookies and Trackers – Regularly clear your browser cookies and cache, and consider using browser extensions that block trackers and advertisements. Always keep a digital footprint checker in your devices.
  • Use Strong, Unique Passwords Establish strong passwords. A strong password can act as a barrier against unauthorized individuals who can hack and try to gain access to your account and personal information.
  • Use VPN (Virtual Private Network) VPN provides secure connections especially when using public Wi-Fi, it masks your IP address which makes it harder for others to track your activities.
  • Limit Location Sharing – Be cautious about sharing your real-time location on social media or other apps, as this can reveal your whereabouts and your digital footprint to potential adversaries.
  • Encrypt Your Devices – Enable device encryption on your computers, smartphones, and other devices to protect your data and your digital footprint in case of theft or loss.
  • Use Alternate usernames – Consider using pseudonyms or alternate usernames for online accounts that don’t require your real identity and can cover your digital footprint.
  • Avoid Clicking on Suspicious Links Be alert when clicking on links in emails or messages, especially from unknown sources. They might lead to phishing websites or malware.
  • Avoid Public Wi-Fi for Sensitive Activities – Public Wi-Fi networks can be insecure, making it easier for others to intercept your data and trace your digital footprint. Use a virtual private network (VPN) when accessing the internet on public networks to encrypt your connection.
  • Use Private Browsing Mode – When browsing the internet, use private or incognito mode in your web browser to prevent the storage of cookies and browsing history. If you don’t use private mode then make sure to use a digital footprint checker in order to keep everything in check.
  • Regularly Update Software and Apps Keep your operating systems, software, and apps up to date to maintain security accountability and digital footprint.
  • Reduce Cloud Storage Use Be mindful of the data you store in cloud services. Regularly clean up and delete files you no longer need to avoid unnecessary digital footprint.
  • Opt-Out of Data Collection Review the privacy policies of websites and services you use. Opt-out of data collection or targeted advertising where possible. Look for privacy-friendly alternatives and services that prioritize user data protection and user’s digital footprint .
  • Read Privacy Policies – Before signing up for any online service, read and understand their privacy policy to know how your data will be used and shared and whether your digital footprint will be kept safe or not.
  • Educate Yourself and Others – Stay informed about the latest digital privacy and security practices. Share your knowledge with family and friends to help them protect their digital footprint too. Always use a digital footprint checker and learn about different examples of digital footprint.
What is a Digital Footprint?


how are digital assets and digital footprints related?

Digital assets and digital footprints are related in the sense that they both involve the online presence and activities of individuals or organizations.

What is a digital footprint example?

Social media presence, online purchases, website visits, search history.

What is digital footprint image?

Digital footprint images are your social media images, posts etc.

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