The idea of having a digital footprint that I can never erase is scary. The thought that some stupid post or picture from your teens could come back to haunt you is frightening. My strategy for a long time was simply avoidance. My footprint can't be bad if it doesn't exist. But as Ainslie (2009) states, it is better to focus on "making sure [to] build a positive one" rather than fruitlessly trying to avoid one altogether. A positive footprint could have just as big an impact as a negative one. But if there isn't one, that chance to impress is gone.
So how do I try to maintain a positive one? Well for starters, I still try to avoid any negative attention. If someone tags me on Facebook in something that could potentially be offensive I remove my name from it immediately. I also try to avoid getting sucked into "explosive" topics on social media. While I believe it is important for your opinion and voice to be heard, it is far too easy for your views and points to be misconstrued into something you never meant at all, when all they see is the words and not the explanation behind them.
For positive aspects, I firmly believe that if you employ proper netiquette skills wherever you go online, you will stick out as an intelligent and reasonable person. Which in today's world is pretty impressive. I simply try to treat everyone as if I'm face to face with them. Respect is huge, and while I don't really expect to receive it back, at least I'm fulfilling my side of the bargain.
When I took the Digital Driver's Licence Exam I scored a perfect 20/20. While I'd like to say that was really impressive, I think for the most part it was a fairly common sense test. At least for me. The key thing that kept appearing in every question was an aspect of respect and thinking of others. When analyzing the questions from that angle, the correct answer stood out very quickly. I'd be interested to know the average result on that quiz, because I think it would be very telling to see where the score was at. If it's not high, then I think we need to take a serious look at how we operate as a technological society, and where exactly we've gone wrong.
The key factors from the Digital Driver's Licence Exam that I will focus on in throughout the coming weeks will be Digital Access, Digital Law, and Digital Rights and Responsibilities. I believe these are very important in today's technological world, and the lines are not always so clear. And to add to the confusion is the distinction between ethical and legal behaviour. Somethings are allowed under the law, but does that mean we should engage in that behaviour? Is it "right"? I'm looking forward to seeing what the course says on these, and how to apply it to my own behaviour online.