Ten Tips for Developing and Maintaining a Positive Digital Footprint

The world we live in today is so heavily connected through the internet. People are able to share every though they are having with millions of people around the world at the push of a button. Every time someone posts a thought, shares an image or leaves a comment on the internet, a trace of themselves is forever recorded in the digital world. All of these traces come together and form a digital footprint. This digital footprint is the culmination of all the online activity throughout a persons life. In a world that is so heavily grounded in the internet, leaving this digital trace is inevitable. Since leaving a digital footprint is inevitable, it is important for professionals to establish and maintain a positive online presence. Here are ten tips for establishing an online presence and maintaining a positive digital footprint.\

Tip #1: Build your online platform.

  • Create an about.me page and use it as a hub for your social networks
  • “There is no better platform than and about.me page to create a crisp and sophisticated profile.” (Badillo, 2015)
  • Create a universal name and hashtag to make it easy for people to find and follow you
  • Share what you are doing professionally with the world.
  • Use this platform to market yourself in a positive way

Tip #2: Create a blog.

  • Create a blog with the goal of promoting yourself professionally
  • “As the internet and technology become more ingrained in our day-to-day lives, the benefits of blogging become impossible to ignore.” (Dekeziman, 2016)
  • Be focused in your blog posts
  • Share your blog with others and make use of tags
  • Comment on other blogger’s posts to facilitate conversation.

Tip #3: Make use of Twitter.

  • Follow people that inspire you professionally
  • Find hashtags that interest you and follow them
  • Make use of a Twitter management tool such as TweetDeck to follow multiple people or hashtags
  • Engage in TwitterChats
  • Know how the difference between @ and # and when to use both
  • Comment on other tweets to create conversations
  • “For the web worker interested in making loose connections into productive working relationships, Twitter might be the thing you need.” (Zelenka, 2007)

Tip #4: Link into Linkedin.

  • It is the best social platform for professional networking
  • Linkedin profiles are at the top of most Google searches which get 94% of clicks (Arruda, 2013)
  • Make your talent discovered
  • Build trust and credibility in your professional community
  • Use Linkedin to collect professional recommendations and endorsements
  • Network with your professional community

Tip #5: Establish a Professional Learning Network.

  • Build a network of professionals to collaborate with
  • Use your PLN to share successes or reach our for help
  • A PLN is a customized group of professionals centered around solving one problem. (Lynch, 2017)
  • Find professionals who have:
    • similar areas of expertise
    • similar working populations
    • similar goals
  • Customize a professional team to network and problem solve with

Tip # 6: Be active in the online community.

  • “Social media can help your business but your profiles need to be active in order to make a difference.” (Stamoulis, 2015)
  • Create a schedule for posting to social media and stick to it
  • Engage in the conversation. Do not just passively read. Comment on posts to create credibility and build relationships
  • Leverage credibility to get people to share your posts. This will help your posts get picked up by search engines
  • Be sure to address any comments are questions that are directly aimed at you

Tip #7: Stay Organized.

  • Keep track of your online resources
  • Make use of organization tools such as Diigo
  • “Diigo defines itself as a powerful research tool and a knowledge-sharing community.” (Bell, 2015)
  • Know what tags and people you are following. Make sure they are all relevant to you professionally
  • Make sure all social media is current and up to date.

Tip #8: Protect your privacy.

  • Know what other people can see on various social media platforms
  • Stay current on new and updated privacy policies for you social media accounts
  • Use a product likeĀ Trend Micro Security, which provides a privacy scan of social networks like Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
    • This allows you to manage privacy settings for multiple accounts on one screen. (Ferguson, 2015)
  • Only give sites required information
  • Be aware of what your friends can share. Consider separating professional life from personal life.

Tip #9: Think before you post.

  • Avoid posts that have a negative tone
  • Do not say inappropriate or offensive things
  • Ask yourself if there is anyone you wouldn’t want seeing what you are posting
  • “If you wouldn’t say it to someone’s face, don’t say it online” (Hartney, 2018)
  • Maintain a positive and professional image
  • Once something is posted, it is impossible to fully take it back

Tip #10: Be respectful.

  • Communicate with everyone respectfully
  • Behave in a way that earns other people’s respect
  • Try not to misinterpret messages and do your best to not be misinterpreted
  • Break connections with disrespectful and toxic people
  • Say please and thank you (Hartney, 2018)
  • Be prompt in responding to other people
  • Have integrity and maintain a positive and professional image.

The digital footprint left behind all of our interactions online is a digital reflection of ourselves. There is a certain standard for professional interactions we all adhere to and we must hold ourselves to the same standard digitally. As the world we live in becomes more ingrained in the online world, the line between our real self and our digital self will continue to blur. Here are ten tips to help you establish an online presence and keep it positive and professional.


Arruda, W. (2013, November 26). 9 Reasons Why You Must Update Your LinkedIn Profile Today. Retrieved June 12, 2018, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/williamarruda/2013/11/25/9-reasons-why-you-must-update-your-linkedin-profile-today/#4ebde6b24af9

Badillo, N. (2015, August 23). Why Use About.Me As Your Social Profile Business Card. Retrieved June 12, 2018, from http://nancybadillo.com/why-use-about-me-as-your-social-profile-business-card/

Bell, K. (2015, November 06). 8 Reasons You Should Be Using Diigo. Retrieved June 12, 2018, from https://shakeuplearning.com/blog/8-reasons-you-should-be-using-diigo/

Dekmezian, G. (2016, September 23). Why Do People Blog? The Benefits of Blogging. Retrieved June 12, 2018, from https://www.huffingtonpost.com/gary-dekmezian/why-do-people-blog-the-be_b_8178624.html

Ferguson, R. (2015, April 6). Social Media Privacy Settings Are Important. Retrieved June 12, 2018, from https://blog.trendmicro.com/social-media-privacy-settings-are-important/

Hartney, E. (2018, January 3). Ten Basic Rules of Netiquette or Internet Etiquette. Retrieved June 12, 2018, from https://www.verywellmind.com/ten-rules-of-netiquette-22285

Lynch, M. (2017, August 13). What is the Importance of a Personal Learning Network? Retrieved June 12, 2018, from http://www.theedadvocate.org/importance-personal-learning-network/

Stamoulis, N. (2015, October 02). Reasons to Be Active in Social Media. Retrieved June 12, 2018, from http://www.brickmarketing.com/blog/active-social-media.htm

Zelenka, A. (2007, March 15). Eight Ways Twitter is Useful Professionally. Retrieved June 12, 2018, from https://gigaom.com/2007/03/15/eight-ways-twitter-is-useful-professionally/

3 thoughts on “Ten Tips for Developing and Maintaining a Positive Digital Footprint

  1. Josh, I like your detailed tips. You went beyond the tips to the strategies at which you can use to successfully leverage social media and create a positive professional presence. Are you going to create an about.me page? I thought about creating one, but that’s just another thing to manage.


    1. Thanks for your feedback! I do think I will create an about.me. Based on what I have read, it is easy to manage once you have it all set up. My first focus will be updating my Linkedin account. I think that one will be more immediately useful to me and in the long run.


  2. Excellent list Josh! I had never heard of Trend Micro Security before. I like the idea of having a product to help maintain the privacy of my social media accounts. It can get overwhelming trying to maintain everything.


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