How to Clean Up Your Internet Profile

Whether it is for privacy concerns or a prospective job interview, it’s never a bad idea to clean up your internet profile. Here are some tips to avoid embarrassment and tighten privacy on the web.
How to Clean Up Your Internet Profile

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How to Clean Up Your Internet Profile and Social Media

Social media and the Internet have changed our society and how we communicate. Prospective employers often turn to social media for more information on a person. And why not? What people post on Facebook says a lot about themselves, their passions, and their maturity.

With the Internet, there’s also the concern of digital privacy. Consumer Reports has a great article on digital privacy, with aspects you most likely have never thought of – such as your TV or coffee maker. Also, binge watching Person of Interest has taught me a lot about digital safety, government, and how much of our private information we voluntarily give away. It is a bit creepy how much information you can get from someone’s digital footprint; whether or not people may realize it. On the average person’s public social media profiles, I can glean:

  • Location
  • Age
  • Relationship status
  • Hobbies
  • Favorite brands
  • Favorite music/books/movies
  • Type of phone (occasionally)
  • Religious and political views
  • School and grade
  • Church
  • Past and current work history
  • Family members/siblings
  • When they are on vacation or away from home

A bit crazy when you think about it, isn’t it? Whether it is for privacy concerns or a prospective job interview, it’s never a bad idea to clean up your internet profile. Here are some tips to avoid embarrassment and tighten privacy on the web!

1. Delete all accounts you’re not using

I recently went through many of my accounts and deleted a bunch of accounts I don’t use. Old Yahoo accounts, sites I bought from once two years ago, and so on. This is a great way to clean up your digital footprint, whether or not prospective employers will see it.

2. Search your name

Google your name two ways – once as is, and once with quotation marks in your name. (Googling “Jane Doe” will only bring up results for that exact phrase.) If a site has an unwanted picture (or old account as described above), ask for it to be taken down. If it’s something on Facebook, delete it, untag yourself from it, ask a friend to delete it, and so on.

Bonus tip: Google yourself from a friend’s computer or local library, as different results may pop up. (tailored to previous search history)

3. Go through your social media feeds one by one

Go through your social media feeds one by one, and delete anything that may make you appear in a negative light – such as relationship rants, hard profanity, or bad-mouthing others, especially professors, your boss, and your parents. This can include YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and your old MySpace.

4. Give your Facebook a good scrub

Facebook Privacy Settings: I am constantly aware of my Facebook privacy settings; there are certain things I put as public, certain ones as friends, and even some as “only me” if I want to save something for later. Be especially careful with geographically tagged locations or personal pictures near street signs or schools.

Tags: Clean up unwanted photos that you’re tagged in.
About: Most people I know haven’t updated their “About” section in years, and it can awkwardly show. Your About section is one of the key features of your Facebook profile. Go through old Notes, your quotes, and more.
Likes, Movies, Books, and Music: Give your Likes a good cleansing, keeping in mind many of these are public.
Activity Log: Check your Facebook Activity Log to weed out the bad!
Settings: In your settings, go through your Apps, and revoke permission from any apps or sites you no longer use.

5. Keep professional usernames

Sparklyunicorn495 may seem awesome at 13, but it doesn’t show as well on a resume contact e-mail. Keep usernames professional and tasteful.

6. Diversify your passwords

You’ve heard it before – come up with unique passwords. This is especially true for your vital accounts where serious damage could happen if someone malicious hacked your account – bank accounts, Facebook, and e-mail. The more complex, the more secure. I have a physical chart of all of my passwords, which I use all the time!

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