Digital Footprint

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A digital footprint, or data exhaust[1] is a way of describing the trail left by one's interactions in a digital environment.[2] Unlike footprints left in the sand at the beach, our online data trails often stick around long after the tide has gone out.[3] As digital footprints are often persistent, those who participate on social networks have become increasingly conscious of their history on the site. Many social networks have learned to quantify the digital footprints of their users and used them them to improve click-through rates on ads placed on their pages.


  1. O'Reilly, Tim. What is Web 2.0? Design Patterns and Business Models for the Next Generation of Software. Published September 2005. Accessed Jan 2011.
  2. Greenberg, Andy. Digital Privacy: Privacy Groups Target Android, Mobile Marketers. Published Jan 13, 2009. Accessed June 30, 2011.
  3. Madden, Susannah Fox, Aaron Smith, and Jessica Vitak. Pew Internet & American Life Project. Digital Footprints: Online identity management and search in the age of transparency. Published 16 December 2007. Accessed Jan 2011.