The trail you leave behind for others to find on the internet every time you upload a photo, share anything, publish videos, or get tagged on social media platforms is your social media footprint. Companies and people alike are realizing that some of the things they posted or shared in the past are not what they want anyone to see today. For example, a company may have published insensitive information or a controversial photo in an attempt to attract more customers.
Equally, you can get in trouble for something you’ve posted in the past. For example, provocative pictures or a hate statement about your company or boss. Regardless of what you think, people interpret your posts as your real opinion. So information you post when you’re angry, happy, excited, or even when trying to leverage social interaction for your company, if it’s not appropriate, can be used against you.
Following are some ideas to help you manage your social media footprint and help you be more vigilant in the future:
Audit your social platforms
You need to see what comes up on your social media footprint. You can perform an audit of the various platforms you use. For example, Facebook allows you to download your entire history. You can look through to see what you’ve posted. In addition, search for your name on Google to see what comes up.
You may also find that you have too many social media pages to handle. Look at Reebok, the company recently deleted hundreds of its Facebook pages because the it realized it couldn’t manage every one as needed.
You will need to assess the information you find about yourself to make decisions on what to do and what not to do.
Delete inactive accounts
When you’ve decided which social media platforms you plan to continue using, close the accounts you won’t use along with inactive accounts. This isn’t always easy because most of the platforms make it hard for you to delete your account.
Limit access to social media information
Limit who sees what you do on each site. You can limit who you want your content to be shared with. On Facebook you can remove tags of you on photos. You can also hide details of your profile so Google doesn’t bring up your page in a search. Remember to always limit information that could get you in trouble later and share only information that benefits you.
Conceal questionable material
If you find that you posted anything that is questionable or can be interpreted in such a way, you need to hide it or delete it.
Watch your words
Now that you’ve decided what you are going to allow yourself to say, be watchful of what you’re saying before you post. Don’t post anything you’ll regret later. Like with any other method of communication, don’t post when angry. Even though social media platforms are about posting emotions and updates, you need to practice self-control.
Change your name
If you have an unusual name such as “hotstud69”, you should change it to something that’s more politically correct.
Be cautious of future posts and tagging
Unfortunately, there is technology available that allows for facial recognition. Eventually this will make it to the web and this technology will tag you across the web. In the future you won’t be able to disassociate yourself with photos, when the facial recognition software recognizes a photo. You’re in a better position to protect yourself by staying up-to-date with removing all inappropriate photos of yourself.
Obscurity versus infamy
Your social media footprint could easily fade into obscurity or it could become embarrassing and frustrating to you. Don’t let infamy take over your future prospects, such as your career, relationships, and other aspects of your life. Make any changes you need to make today.
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