Let’s talk about your digital footprint

Recently, Teen Vogue hired a new editor-in-chief, Alexi McCammond. Immediately following the announcement of her hiring, screenshots arose on social media of old tweets McCammond made, where she expressed anti-Asian and anti-LGBTQ views. McCammond quickly issued an apology, but was soon fired by Teen Vogue’s parent company, Condé Nast. As teenagers today grow up in a digital, social media era, they must be aware that their digital footprint can affect them and their futures just like it did in the case of Alexi McCammond.

“When you put something on the internet, it’s there forever.” I have heard this sentence from my parents and friends numerous times. It’s a warning: be careful what you post. Many recent college graduates in the early 2010s were told similar things. For instance, don’t post pictures on Facebook while holding alcohol, as this could harm future job opportunities. Whether that is true or not, it has been a huge discussion concerning online safety.


A “digital footprint” refers to the information about a particular person that exists on the internet, as a result of their online activities. There are two types of digital footprints, passive and active. Passive footprint is information collected from the user without them knowing. An active digital footprint is where the user has deliberately shared information about themselves either by using social media sites or by using websites.

And it does sound a bit scary that you know a photo your friend posted of you years ago is forever going to be on the internet. Or the blog that you ran in middle school of your opinions is forever on the internet (true story).

First things first, students and teenagers don’t know enough about digital footprints, in the MCPS health curriculum, you learn very basic technological information, like the importance of not telling your address to anyone online, but not about how to control your passive footprint. I was unaware of information about this topic prior to writing this article.

Let’s look at the positives of the digital footprint: you can work to make yours top-notch. I learned this by getting involved through various advocacy organizations. When you are applying to college, internships, fellowships or anything today, they Google you. When they Google you, make sure they see good things. For example, when you Google my name, you are met with all the Pitch articles I have written, the county organizations with which I am involved, past summer programs and some social media.

At the end of the day, it is important to know what to share and what not to share and how to make the best out of our modern-day technology.