Social media is one of the biggest technological developments in recent times, becoming a major part of everyday life. Be it for entertainment, business, education, or any other purpose, most of us engage with it regularly. Think about the last time you used Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Linkedin, WhatsApp, Telegram, Discord, Instagram, Reddit, or TikTok… It is most likely that it was just a few minutes or hours ago.
Ever since MySpace reached 1 million monthly active users in 2004, social media has gone mainstream. If you were an early adopter back in the early days of the internet, chances are you participated in chat rooms, forums, and other early versions of social media. No matter who you are, if you are reading this… you surely have an online history going back years.
Your social media history will depend largely on your technological age, which is why the more you use social media, the more important it is you clean it up. If you are wondering what your technological age is, ExpressVPN’s quiz will help you find out!
Many of us have experimented with googling some of the usernames we have used for online accounts, as well as going well back on our social media profiles. While most of what we found might have been nostalgic, interesting, or funny, many entries were just embarrassing. We all grow, learn, and change opinions, after all. It makes sense that what used to be appropriate years ago is not any longer.
If you do this exercise too, there is a high chance of you getting similar results. That is unless you are some of the few people who already made the effort to clean up their social media presence. If you have never done this, we recommend you do it as soon as possible to avoid situations like that of Adam Rapoport and many other celebrities. Even if you are no celebrity, potential clients and employers could take a look at your online presence at any time.
So, how do you go about cleaning up your social media presence? Well, the first thing to keep in mind is to be authentic. When looking at posts, videos, photos, and other content, you want to be sure they reflect who you are today. Allowing others to see your personality via social media could open opportunities in the future, after all.
Another important aspect to consider is looking at your social media presence from a third-party perspective. While you and your friends know who you are, third parties don’t. As such, it is a good idea to either set it as private or delete altogether all content that could be deemed inappropriate or offensive. This should be applied to everything from groups you are in, content you have created, and content you have shared.
You also want to make sure to avoid focusing on major social media platforms. If you have ever run a blog, participated in a forum, had a podcast, or used any other online medium, you want to check it out. Using search engines is a great way to find this type of content, especially if you tend to use the same usernames!
A common mistake many of us make is assuming old accounts don’t matter if they are not showing in Google. All it takes for this account to resurface is an update to a platform that results in it being indexed. If you have an old account you no longer use or care about, just delete it!
Lastly, let me share a little secret: hiring managers, journalists, and potential clients check who you follow and interact with in order to get a sense of who you are. If you follow any questionable personality or group, it will be noticed and might reflect poorly. On the other hand, if you follow accounts that are valuable for your role and industry, this will reflect well on you.
Managing your social media presence to improve your reputation might seem like hard work but it is in fact easier than you think. Sure, you will have to spend some hours cleaning it up if you have never done so… But maintaining it once you are aware of it, is just a piece of cake.
Your social media presence is another type of resume and cover letter you were not aware of. It is up to you to choose how you want to show yourself! By taking the time to review it, clean it, and maintain it just like you would do with your resume, you are sure to improve your online reputation. Go out there and start working on it.