Thing 4: Digital footprint

Many people don’t know how big a digital footprint they leave when doing things online. Completing this Thing will help you understand digital footprints.

Open Badge Information

Open Badge: SSSC 23 Things Digital – Thing 4: Digital footprint


A digital footprint is the mark you leave when you do something online. It’s the data you leave behind and it can be used to identify you. This can be the result of:

  • posting a comment on social media
  • downloading a file
  • watching a video
  • visiting a website
  • being ‘tagged’ in a photo on social media
  • using a search engine
  • using location services – for example, map applications on your smartphone.


a) Watch Orange’s Digital Dirt video clip on YouTube below and think about the implications for social service workers and the people they support. If you can’t access YouTube, you can try watching on Vimeo.

b) Google yourself to see how high up the returned search results anything relating to you is.

HINT: If you have a common name you can try to narrow the search by adding another search term, such as your job title, or home town.

eg ‘John Smith Dumfries’ or ‘John Smith Social Worker Dumfries’.

c) Visit ‘8 Tips to Effectively Manage Your Digital Footprint’ and think about which of the tips you consider to be the most important.

d) Blog

Write a blog post that reflects your thoughts about the above activities, and ways in which you think having a good understanding of digital footprints can support you and your practice.


If you have a Google account (many people do for things like their Android phone, Gmail, Google Maps, Google Calendar), sign in and look at the following pages:

Does anything surprise you?

Image credit: Digital Footprint and Digital Security by Interactive Content licensed under CC BY 2.0 / Some logos removed from original.