Increasingly, more and more of us are moving a part of our social lives online. Take me for example: I’m a social media junkie! I love reconnecting with old friends with whom I had lost touch, sharing pictures from recent trips or parties, hearing about my friends’ opinions on current events, etc., etc., etc…
Is there a support group for folks like me?
Which leads me to a few important questions: Does your virtual reputation reflect your professional reputation (or the one you want to establish)? Are the photos and comments you’re posting online things you would want your parents to know about? What about your boss or any future employer?
If the answer is no, you might want to take some steps to make sure that your reputation is protected (or at least consistent) online! Here’s what I do:
- I deactivated accounts that I no longer use. Like I said, I jumped on the social media bandwagon in a big way. At my worst, I had joined no fewer than eight different social media-type sites. Yikes! About a year ago, I went back and removed my information from all but the two or three sites that I actively use so that I don’t have such a long trail of websites to keep tabs on.
- I actively manage the privacy settings provided on the sites I still do use. I make sure that I am only sharing personal information with my friends and I restrict access to photos even more stringently. If someone tags a picture of me that I would prefer didn’t go up, I immediately remove that tag and occasionally even ask that person to take pictures down. People have gotten fired for photos that were put up on these web sites! Is that something I want to deal with? Um, no!
There are companies out there that will help you protect your rep, but in the spirit of DIY, this is something that you should take a very personal interest in yourself! If you’re not quite sure about general guidelines for internet privacy, there are plenty of resources to help you get educated, such as: