Social Media is a double-edged sword that we haven’t learned to properly yield, even though it has been around for more than 20 years. While it can be enjoyable and valuable, it can also be harmful, if not used carefully.
Now, more than ever, we are seeing posts from the past coming back to haunt people. While this is avoidable in the future by being vigilant and intentional about what you post, it is also crucial to know how to eliminate old content that might reflect poorly on you.
Unfortunately, there is more to worry about than your reputation! Oversharing online also makes it easier for cybercriminals to access your personal information and hack into your accounts.
How Do I Know What Not to Post?
Because social media is a fairly new component of society, there are no hard and fast rules about what is and is not appropriate to post. In general, it is a good idea to run through a few questions in your mind before you post.
- What would your grandma say if she saw it?
- Would you say this in front of a live audience?
- Would this be a scandalous headline if you were president?
If you’re unsure whether or not you should post something, you probably shouldn’t. Even if you think better of it later and delete it, nothing on the internet is ever truly gone.
How Do I Clean Up My Digital Footprint?
If your online presence needs cleaning up, or you just want to secure your data more thoroughly, there are a few tricks for getting rid of undesirable content.
- Google yourself! See what others can find just by searching your name
- Delete old accounts, especially if they are inactive or irrelevant
- “Scrub” your data using an app or website such as Scrubber Social to locate any information that you might want to get rid of
- Start using a privacy-focused search engine such as DuckDuckGo, or use a browser extension to add another layer of security to your current search engine
- Manage your privacy settings, specifically ones that allow access to your location and other data that cybercriminals could use against you. Enabling Multi Factor Authentication and limiting who can see your posts are great first steps
All it takes is thirty minutes to purify your online presence and tighten up your security settings, but the benefits of doing so will last much longer. Your future self will thank you for investing in your own safety and protection now, instead of when it is too late!