Have you ever considered your internet foot-print ? Few grasped in the early days of the internet that web content can persist indefinitely. I wrote recently about my history as a blogger, and while a few old blogs of mine are still out there, I’ve taken many other sites and profiles down over time.
The current advice for online entrepreneurs is to have a presence everywhere possible on the Web. When I stopped trading as Cherry and Cinnamon, had to reconsider what to do with all the online profiles I’d created across multiple platforms. In one way it was liberating, I joyfully dumped all the ones I didn’t like: pinterest, facebook, linkedin and tumblr. I changed my instagram and twitter handles rather than create new ones and lose all my contacts. And despite having worked hard for SEO visibility I even started a whole new blog (this one!) because my old site no longer represented me.
However having ‘lived’ online for over a decade it sometimes feels like there is too much internet debris out there with my name on it. For every web account I deleted there was something else I left live ‘just in case’; old blogs, etsy and flickr just abandoned.
The domain on my old craft blog runs out next year. It feels like a deadline. Should delete and archive CherryandCinnamon when the domain expires? Or do I leave it out there ‘for the C.V‘? And why haven’t I removed my old comic book sites already? I’m not doing this stuff anymore, so I have nothing to promote. And if I were, would I really want clients seeing out of date work?
It’s tempting to look at those old online pages as evidence of things we did, and who we once were. Part of me wonders if it is somehow dishonest to delete them, like betraying history. But if I truly own my online presence, then who gets to see my past is not up to fate, surely. Ultimately my online reputation is my responsibility (even if no one is looking!) But even now I dithering about what to do.
Do you ever think about your online presence ? Is your internet footprint leaving a messy trail of unfinished business across the worldwide web? Have you ever considered a purge of old internet accounts? If so, tell me about it in the comments. Also, what do you think I should do?