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Digital Literacy: Digital Footprint

Online Identity

A digital identity is an online or networked identity adopted or claimed in cyberspace by an individual, organization or electronic device. These users may also project more than one digital identity through multiple communities. In terms of digital identity management, key areas of concern are security and privacy.

Users may for example use different social media channels to project a different digital identity; on Twitter they may be political, on Instagram they may be fashion forward and on Snapchat they may be fun. These different channels allow a person to communicate different facets of their personality and allow you to project more than one digital identity. 


Netiquette: the rules of etiquette that apply when communicating over computer networks, especially the internet.

When interacting with other people online it is important to keep a number of things in mind. 

  1. Refrain from personal abuse. You may express robust disagreement with what someone says, but don't call them names or threaten them with personal violence. [See this article about internet trolls]
  2. Don't spam. That is, don't repeatedly post the same advertisement for products or services. Most sites have strict and specific rules about who is allowed to post ads and what kind of ads they are.
  3. Write clearly and succinctly. On a site that has many non-native English speakers, avoid using slang they may not understand.
  4. Remember that your posts are public. They can be read by your partner, your children, your parents, or your employer.
  5. Stay on-topic, especially when you're new. Don't post about football in a hair-care forum or about hair care in a gardening forum!
  6. Don't expect other people to do your homework for you. If you're looking for technical help, for example, don't ask questions you could easily answer yourself by reading the manual or online help provided with the product. When you do ask for help, include details of what attempts you've made to solve the problem. It will save time and also show people that you are making an effort to help yourself.
  7. Do not post copyrighted material to which you do not own the rights. Sites vary in how strict they are about this, but as well as facing the possibility of legal action by the rights holder, you may also get the site sued. [See the section about copyright in this LibGuide]
  8. The site's owner, perhaps assisted by one or more moderators, has the final say in enforcing the rules.

[Definition from] [List of Netiquette rules from BBC Webwise]

Digital Footprint

Digital Footprint Definition: One's unique set of digital activities, actions and communications that leave a data trace on the internet or on a computer or other digital device and can identify the particular user or device and can identify the particular user or device. 

Our online browsing habbits are part of our passive digital footprint, created without our concent or knowledge, but our active digital footprint especially on social media can be easily managed. [Source:]


Copyright: The exclusive and assignable legal right, given to the originator for a fixed number of years, to print, publish, perform, film, or record literary, artistic, or musical material. 

The video below is a humorous, yet informative, review of copyright principles delivered through the words of the very people we can thank for nearly endless copyright terms.

This article on image copyright gives some great insight into the use of images on Social Media. 

[Definition from Oxford Dictionary Online]


The goal of the above video was to highlight how easy it is for someone to obtain information about you online. The video is actually an advertisement for a safe internet banking company. At the beginning of the video the 'mind reader' demonstrates his ability by using information we can presume came from the 'targets' social media pages. But then he begins telling them their bank balances and their account numbers, this demonstrates the 'targets' need for better internet banking security. 

When we think of the amount of information we put out there we can easily see how a 'mind reader' like this one could pull information from our websites and social media profiles. It is always important to be aware of the information you put out there and also protect the services like banking that you use online. 

Read more about internet security and how to protect yourself here


Internet privacy is the privacy and security level of personal data published via the Internet. It is a broad term that refers to a variety of factors, techniques and technologies used to protect sensitive and private data, communications, and preferences