Need to clean up your online reputation for job interviews, background checks, dating or school applications?
If you have a few photo’s or tweets you would prefer to keep private, you need to get to work BEFORE people come looking for your past. While some things can never be fully erased from the web, most places that sore your personal information can be made private. Here are six tips to control your digital presence.
1. Search your name, your email, and your phone number (Goggle, Bing, Yahoo)
Be your own detective. Whether they are recruiters, hackers, or vengeful exes, it’s important for you to know what they’ll find by simply searching for you.
2. Erase your public data
You might appear in Google’s search results with companies you have never done business with, trying to sell your address, phone number, criminal convictions…, some of it may be harmless, but they might have more information about you than you might want available to the public. Maybe not embarrassing, but personal information should still be private. Contact those websites and have that information removed.
3. Audit your social media accounts
During your name search, you might come across old social media accounts, posts with funny insensitive, outdated jokes, or embarrassing blog posts in which you overshared too much of your personal life. But now you have grown up a bit, and want to leave that in the past. Dig up everythingyou’ve ever posted and evaluate it with fresh eyes. Delete it or set it to private.
4. Archive and delete
After evaluating your posts for privacy risks and negative content, it’s time to edit and delete. Close any accounts that aren’t doing any good for your reputation (both now and in the future). Remember, some content on the internet can never be fully deleted. Even if you think it’s private, law enforcement and hackers can still dig up things you don’t want shared.The internet is permanent.
5. Adjust your privacy settings
Review your account settings in your browser and mobile apps. Minimize who can see your personal data. This includes your photos, posts, location, and personal information, like your address or birthdate. Also set any photo you are tagged in ~ as private. Or, if you want to be ultra-secure. Delete Facebook entirely J
6. Be mindful of others privacy
You can create a bad online reputation without writing a single word. Think before you share/repost negative content. When you repost, their words and ideas become yours. Be especially careful with humor around sensitive topics including race, religion, and politics. Snowflakes melt easy. When you post original photos, remember that some people have different levels of online privacy than you. Ask if it is ok before you tag others online or ask your friends to tag themselves.
Remember, it’s better to be proactive about being positive. Don’t post anything that you don’t want to come back to haunt you in the future. Pepperidge Farm never forgets nor does the internet.