👣Digital Footprint

As discussed in the last section, web2's data is scattered across the internet. However, some information is stored as generic user data while some information is stored against a particular user.

A digital footprint is the information about a particular person that exists on the internet as a result of their online activity.

~ Definition from Oxford languages

Every day, an average person spends 7 hours online on 7 different platforms and produces around 146 GB of data. This data consists of all your online activity: the data you produce and the data you consume. Altogether, this is referred to as your digital footprint.

Types of Digital Footprint

A digital footprint can be of two types: Active and Passive

Active Footprint

Active digital footprints are the information that a user willingly and deliberately shares on the internet. Examples are posting on social media platforms, writing blogs, video or image uploads, joining various groups, etc. The footprint is tagged to the registered user that is using that platform and later on can be used to see the history of actions of this registered user.

Passive Footprint

Passive digital footprints are information that a user involuntarily leaves online. Passive digital footprints are majorly used for analyzing user behavior on a particular platform. Examples could be tracking the geolocation of where the "hit" or request came from, seeing which button the user clicked before leaving the website, browsing history of a device, etc. Passive footprints are not directly tagged to a registered user and the data collected is normally analyzed as a whole.

Using a person's (active) digital footprint, many different types of information can be extracted, the two most important of them being the user's reputation and interest.

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