Universität Zürich

IKMZ - Department of Communication and Media Research

Media Change & Innovation Division

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Life Online: The Digital Footprint Gap


Büchi, Moritz /

Lutz, Christoph /

Micheli, Marina

Position Paper for the Partnership for Progress on the Digital Divide 2017 International Conference, 24–26 May 2017, San Diego, California, USA.

Individuals’ digitally traceable behavior – their digital footprint – can lead to both beneficial and adverse outcomes. The digital inequality literature has rightly focused on the antecedents and types of differentiated Internet use. However, something is missing in the picture, namely that Internet use also produces 'collateral data'. What we do online matters, but so does the content of what remains online about us. Here, we develop the concept of the digital footprint gap and derive propositions on its beneficial and adverse outcomes.