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Is this photo of you? Are you protecting your digital footprint?

The importance of protecting your photos and their digital footprint.
Image Credit – dizain/Shutterstock.com

Is this photo of you? Are you protecting your digital footprint?

When you post a photograph online do you realize how easy it is for someone to save it to their own computer? Do you realize that in the Terms and Agreement of Services for many photo sites like Flickr and Picassa, you are giving your rights to the photograph to the site? Do you know that when you text someone a photo of you they can email it to themselves and then publish it online?

Yesterday I was researching a client’s online presence on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and the other social networking sites, checking his completed social media profiles, photos, etc … I surprisingly came across a picture of him uploaded about two and half years ago.  Wow, was I surprised!  It was a very provocative photo, but not part of the image he wanted to portray online any longer.

I immediately removed the photo, and of course had several laughs about it with him! He was embarrassed and explained that it was uploaded as a joke several years ago and he  had forgotten about it.

I couldn’t resist explaining the importance of your online presence and digital footprint.  I saved the picture to my hard drive and emailed it to him. I wanted to show him how easy it was for someone to save and modify it; changing it to suit their needs.  Jokingly, I said that we should keep an eye out for it on a future ad for getting rid of belly fat! LOL! I believe I got my point across and he probably won’t upload those type of photos again, even as a joke.

Ask yourself these questions about your online photos:

  • Are you willing to share it with the world?
  • Would you mind seeing it at your high school graduation, wedding, etc…. on a video screen?
  • Would you be embarrassed if your boss, client, or mother saw it?
  • Would you have objections if your child shared a similar photo of themselves on or offline?

All photos of me must pass the above screening process before I upload or allow anyone to take my photo.  You can’t control every photo or even know every time a photo is taken of you, but you can be aware of your surroundings and observe when others are taking photographs.  Ask the person taking the photographs to please let you see them before posting online, try and put your back or side profile to the photographer, it will be a little harder for you to be recognized online.

Being seen at social events is an important part of branding and your online presence, but the photos need to be photos you would share with the world. Not a photograph you would regret later.  Taking crazy photographs with your friends can be fun, but they can also have an impact later.

Try to limit being snapped in these photos:

  • Drinking what would appear to be an alcoholic beverage.
  • Talking with your hands making certain gestures.
  • Photos with your tongue sticking out, making crazy eyes, rabbit ears, etc…

These are all fun for now, but I promise there is a very strong possibility that those fun pictures can be damaging to you in the future. Your client might decide you are not serious enough, or perhaps drinking is a NO-NO in their book.  I had a photo snapped of me where I was talking with my hands (as I often do) and it appeared from the angle of the photo I was grabbing the chest of the person next. Of course, I knew the photo was innocent, but everyone that would have seen it online would not have known that!

Here is your assignment, if you haven’t already done so:

  1. Login to each one of your social networking sites, even the old ones (Myspace, etc…) that you don’t use anymore.
  2. Read through your profile and remove anything that could be offensive, misleading or misinterpreted.
  3. Check each photograph of you, ones you uploaded and ones you are tagged in.  Remove anything questionable; always play it safe when in doubt. If the photos of you aren’t ones you uploaded and you can’t remove them, ask the account owner to kindly remove them.  If they refuse, you could report the photo as spam on many social networking sites.
  4. Think back to social events you attended and recall someone taking photos. Email the photographer and ask them to see the photographers.  Ask if the photos are stored online and ask for the link.  You want to see them online also.

Now, let us have some fun! Do you have a crazy photo story you want to share with the readers of this post? Tell us about a time when you had something happened to you online that you didn’t expect. Tell us how you resolved the situation.  We all need to make sure our online presence is top quality, and sharing scenarios will help all of us!

As always, looking forward to your comments!

Lissa Loves to Speak, Train & Teach on Digital Marketing

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