All it takes is one offensive Facebook comment or immature Instagram post to ruin your chances at a job or scholarship. It’s time to scrub those profiles.
Plenty of tools exist to scrub your social media accounts of all posts.
But the internet is forever.
Cleaning up social media also means keeping posts clean going forward. But, of course, personal judgment plays a heavy role too.
The following are seven tips and unwritten rules to help you clean up your social media profiles.
Look at Your Past
As people age, they evolve based on their experiences. Teenagers react according to their emotions. Some adults never grow out of their feelings.
Nonetheless, circumstances determine who you are at any moment. So examine the age of your social media accounts and look at your past.
Were you a wild child in high school?
Were you an activist in college?
Who are you as an adult?
More importantly, how do you want people to perceive you today?
Adults give teenagers and young adults a pass on emotions, opinions, and mistakes because everyone’s been there too. Yet, society expects you to outgrow childish things.
Past a certain age and set of experiences, people expect you to mature and reflect on it. Of course, no one expects you to stop living and enjoying life, but some actions become unacceptable because you should know better.
Consider deleting content with profanity, illegal substances, and threats.
It may have been cool to tweet drunk at 18, but at age 25, it’s best to clean up those old posts.
Leave Them Wanting More
In real life, it isn’t easy to gather an audience to hear your every thought.
Online life is open 24/7.
Since there’s always an audience, you assume the internet wants to listen to every detail of your life.
PT Barnum famously said, “Always leave them wanting more.” Barnum was a master entertainer described as the Greatest Showman. You’re not in show business, but it doesn’t hurt to leave the internet wanting more.
One way to clean up your social media is to avoid TMI.
In the moment, too much information seems like a good idea. But, in a few days, the light might shine differently on that decision.
When you have a fantastic meal, why not post the details and image of the dish? Food is one thing; your personal life and information are another.
Social media platforms help individuals garner the attention they crave. But, unfortunately, posting images of yourself in that skimpy bikini or partying with the fellas leaves very little to the imagination.
Definitely stay away from poor grammar and spelling. Negative posts about your boss aren’t a good idea either. Adult content is also 100% off-limits, especially if you or someone in the post is underage.
At worst, it helps professionals looking at your accounts imagine you in the worst light.
The Golden Rule
Online pile-ons are infamous in the social media sphere. It’s easy to get into the fray when you’re typing on a keyboard, not facing the latest person to incur the wrath of the internet.
Keep in mind that an online pile-on can come after anyone. So to clean up your social media, remember the Golden Rule.
The Golden Rule easily applies to the online world as much as the real-life world: treat others the way you want to be treated.
If you’re ever the target of an online onslaught, the hope is that others will remember it too.
The 48-Hour Rule
Social media is infamous for helping information travel around the world in minutes. Sometimes the information is accurate.
Other times, it’s not.
Having a bad day, week, or month is not uncommon. It’s very easy to vent online. In the heat of the moment, you’re likely to say or type things you’ll regret later.
The 48-Hour Rule acts as a cooling-off period.
In 48 hours, you can gather more facts and form an opinion on the latest trending topic. It’s also enough time to gather your thoughts and feelings.
You can share your thoughts on social media, and there will be individuals who can commiserate. Organize yourself before blowing up on an online public platform.
If you stick to your opinions and post them, be ready to stand by them and defend them.
The Internet is Forever Rule
Once you post something on a social media platform, it’s online forever.
The internet archives anywhere between 70 to 90% of the material uploaded online. Images, posts, and web pages are some of the materials archive organizations compile.
It goes beyond archiving too. With enough effort, internet sleuths figure out how to unearth anything posted online, even when it’s “private.”
Others will judge you by your social media content. If you’re working your way into a new relationship or friendship, it impacts it. It may have been fun to post drunk pictures, but it gives insight into who you are when your inhibitions are down.
You may not have a target on your back the way celebrities, politicians, and professional athletes do, but it’s best to practice prudence.
The Internet is Forever Rule is easier to follow if you’re practicing the Golden Rule, 48-Hour Rule, and avoiding TMI.
Consider Your Reputation
Americans inherited a strong sense of individualism. So, it’s common for social media users to tell themselves that what others think of their posts doesn’t matter; until it does.
There isn’t a bountiful supply of perfect career opportunities, school admissions, and positions of prestige. That’s why schools, organizations, and employers seek elite representatives for their communities.
If it comes down to a person who posts inappropriate photos and someone who doesn’t, can you guess who they’re going to pick?
To clean up your social media, consider your reputation before you post.
Deactivate Old Accounts
Unused, old websites and social media accounts become fertile ground for hackers and other internet professionals. They find out when these web pages remain idle for extended periods.
Since there’s no one watching over them, the web pages end up with a new owner. Once taken over, they’re used to spread online viruses and spam.
These hackers figure out how to crack the password. Once they’re in the account, they’ll post inappropriate material or links to viruses.
They can also leak your private pictures and messages to create a narrative against you even though they’re several years old.
Instead of giving phishers another place to play, deactivate old social media accounts. It helps clean up your online presence too.
It’s easy to create an anonymous social media account and throw caution to the wind when posting. Yet, social media background checks are more common among employers, organizations, and potential partners.
Other people’s opinions of a person’s judgment impact most individuals, so it’s a good idea to keep social media clean by employing the above tips.
Caitlin Sinclair is the Property Manager at REVO with 5 years of property management experience and many more in Customer Service. She shares her passion for her community and looks forward to making REVO a place to call home.