Digital Footprint

What Does Digital Footprint Mean?

A digital footprint is a unique data
trace of a user’s activities, actions, communications or transactions in digital media. This data trace can be left on the internet, computers,
mobile devices or other mediums. A digital footprint can be used to
track the user’s activities and devices. A user can leave digital footprint either actively or passively, but once shared, a digital footprint is
almost permanent in nature.


Techopedia Explains Digital Footprint

Technology users are frequently involved in digital activities, either actively or passively. However, whatever they do, there is always a data trace left behind which shows users’ activities. If required, those activities can be tracked back.

This digital footprint can be shared actively or passively. In active data trace, users share their activities intentionally, like social media activities, online chatting, phone calls or blog posts. Here the data is shared publicly or semi-publicly.

In passive data trace, the footprint is created unintentionally. Here the users do not share the data, but the trace is left behind, and it can be used to track back the users’ activities. It includes activities like searching the internet, browsing websites, online purchases, online forms or online surveys. This data is sometimes used to understand user sentiments, marketing trends or analytics.


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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.