Everything is digital, so expect that when someone wants to know more information about you, all it takes is just a few clicks to pull up your Facebook profile. Doing so is fairly easy, whether the search is for good or bad. That is unless you use a different name for some reason.
When Do You Need a Clean Social Media Profile?
1. When you are in business
Businesses hire social media managers to keep their official social media accounts looking professional. As reflected in your social media accounts, the image of your company can make or break your name. As someone directly linked to the business, you must also practice a level of professionalism with your personal posts. Or better yet, you should make a social media account for business purposes.
2. When you are applying for a job
This one is a given. It’s a known fact that job screenings include at least a look into your personal social media accounts. Whatever the HR finds in your social media can count towards or against your “hireability.”
3. When you are currently in a job
Just because you are in a steady job doesn’t mean you are an exception to the rule. Some professions are even strict about what you post on your personal social media, especially if your job means you have to keep some of your personal opinions to yourself.
How to Clean Up Your Digital Trail
It’s important to have a clean digital trail. If you want to present yourself professionally on social media, you have to filter out social media posts that will oppositely present you. When you are in business, one way for customers, clients, and potential investors to screen information about you is to look you up online. That is relatively easy. A simple google search of your name will lead them to a full-on display of your preferences, stance, and how you interact with other people.
Even if you are not in business or applying for a job, a social media cleanup will still benefit you. By cleaning up your digital trail, you also work towards personal safety and security. Some people give away too many details about their private lives on social media. Doing so puts their and their family’s safety at risk. At home, you have gates, door locks, and even security cameras to block other people’s access into your life. Do the same even online.
1. Make a list
Depending on the reason for the cleanup, you have to make a list of all the things you want to go from your social media profile. Imagine being in the shoes of whoever will be looking at your posts. What will turn them off? What will deduct some points from your desirability as a businessman, a job seeker, an employee, or even a student?
You can use the “public view” on Facebook to see what it looks like to your friends. Use another person’s Facebook account, one you’re not friends with, to see what your profile looks like.
There are past posts that make you cringe and think whether it was really you who wrote them. If you don’t want them to see the light of another day, hit the delete button. Are there posts that show you in a negative light? Or personal sentiments that may have a tinge of discrimination against people of different gender, races, and religion? Delete them.
2. Google your name
Have you ever, even once, tried keying in your name in a Google search bar? If you haven’t yet, you will be surprised what people actually see when they type in your name.
It could be admission results from schools, congratulatory posts on Facebook, or links to articles and even tweets that contain your full name. You will also find out all the websites you joined years ago. They will come up. And indeed, you have forgotten your passwords to these accounts.
Doing a google search of your name will remind you of all the personal blogs you have made as a 12-year old. Ultimately, you have to decide whether to keep them or not.
3. Edit your privacy settings
Of course, you don’t have to stop posting fun pictures and just stick to purely professional ones. One way to keep the fun going while not risking your employability or business is to keep some posts private. Every single social media post has that feature. Make use of them so you can still live a fun life and secure jobs, scholarships, and business deals.
The freedom that comes with social media is also the responsibility to keep certain parts of your life separate from others. It may be a bit of a hassle initially, but you will eventually get the hang of it.