What’s the password? A few lessons in tying up those digital lose ends.

Last week I decided to audit my digital portfolio, to make sure that it was as cost effective and set up as simply as it could be. I saw that I could make some significant improvements. Great, let’s get them done, I hear you say… Well, these improvements caused issues of their own. Everything had been set up so sporadically, and yes I’ll admit, without much digital maturity that things were everywhere!

Anyone who reads my weeknotes will know that finding where the now old email address was hosted to set up a forward caused me quite some stress. I knew I had an email mailbox with someone, but who? When I first started out on my own, 5 years ago, my background and knowledge was really confined to social media and digital copy editing. So, as you can imagine there was quite a lot out there that I didn’t know that I didn’t know. Of course, I hadn’t recorded who I had set the mailbox up with, I’d just relied on the fact that it was still working for all this time.

This experience really taught me a few valuable lessons.

Even if it ain’t broke it can still be fixed

I am regularly suggesting that digital portfolios should be reviewed and updated to my clients, so it was high time I took my own advice. There was no issue with the way things were set up really, other than multiple logins and the feeling of not knowing where / who things were hosted with. Taking the time to check up on who you need to pay to keep things live, and making sure this is all logged can be a bit of a pain but it really does help in the long run.

Do you know who is hosting your website and email accounts? I have asked this question so many times this year, and generally speaking the answer has been pretty similar – “Oh the person who left 2 years ago set that up, I’m not sure where to get that information.” It’s not just a case of peace of mind, these questions are a big part of your organisations online security.

A basic Digital Footprint (detailed information has been blurred) go as detailed as you need, include all the extra bits, do you use a donation platform or have a connecting tool like Zapier?

You will never know what you don’t know – so keep on learning

The journey to what is sometimes called digital maturity is never over. There are many things that I still don’t know, and that I may not even know are possible. That’s why it’s so important to keep learning. Engage in conversations with peers online (Twitter seems to be the place for me). Join groups that can help you to develop, some great charity sector focused ones are; Open Charity (of which I am an organising member); Digital Charities (an incredible and supportive slack group where no question is seen as a silly one; and Net Squared London (a regular meetup that explores the numerous challenges and questions about digital in the sector).

Reflection is good, but don’t judge yourself too harshly

It was an interesting experience to audit my own digital footprint and begin the process of tying up those digital lose ends. At times I became frustrated with decisions I had previously made and had to remind myself that as we grow and develop we notice issues from past actions that we could see as failures. It’s time to reflect on what I’ve learnt from these failures, learn from the experience and continue to improve. Don’t be afraid to fail 🤓