Keep Your Online Social Presence Clean

Are you keeping your social presence clean and professional?  Do you need to tidy up your digital footprint?  I have previously posted about this topic (see blog here), and wanted to share extra tips because many of us go through life blissfully unaware that we continually build an online portrait of ourselves.

This online identity or digital footprint describes the trail we leave from our actions in cyberspace.  This information can be broken down into active and passive data traces.  Active data traces refer to actions carried out intentionally by internet users, such as posting on social media, uploading videos or making phone calls.  Passive data traces refer to website visits, tailored browser searches or the use of smart televisions.

With the increased use of Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Tic Toc and Instagram it is a good idea to regularly check your online social presence, especially before you start looking for your next job.  It is important to know what any person in the public arena can see and read about you.   In addition, online background checks by recruiters and employers are becoming common practice and unlike an interview, you cannot see who is checking you out.  For Federal Government positions that need a security clearance, digital footprint checks are now mandatory.  If your online presence is poor, you may not even get shortlisted!  Why?  Because you can be a liability to a company. 

What Poor Social Profiles Might Contain:

  • Bullying, anti-discrimination or anti-social behaviour.
  • Negative, racism, sexism or politically motivated posts or rants.
  • Being tagged by friends which are compromising or inappropriate in nature.
  • Derogatory/offensive jokes, scams, cartoons or video links, including pornography.
  • Excessive drinking or drug related habits, being naked or deliberately harming people/animals.
  • Groups that you follow, perhaps relating to terrorism or gangs and how active your engagement is.

The golden rule is, if you think it should not be seen, then do not post it!  

Google Yourself:

Start by doing a Google search on yourself and see what links, profiles and images come up in the results.  I suggest you delve past the first two pages of results in Google. There could be extra links hidden in the lower pages that you had forgotten about but should be aware of.

Once an employer has read your resumé or LinkedIn profile they will Google you and your location to start the pre-interview process.  Here’s what you need to do. When searching yourself, use quotes to surround  “your name + your city”  as it forces the results to be a strict match.  This also enables you to discover websites or images that others can find about you.

Key Tips:

  • Always tweak your online profile to ensure a positive digital footprint.
  • Keep your social profile to a minimum and ask yourself “Does this need to go online?”.
  • Separate personal and work connections.  Content shared on your personal network can be seen by work colleagues who are friends.
  • Review your privacy settings on your social media accounts.  Ensure that posts, profile information and friends are not set to Public.
  • Remove any unused accounts and delete the ones you no longer use.

Finally, if you want to engage a professional to run a check on your digital footprint the check out Check Social.  They will run a full scan to ensure you have not missed anything!  Price is $80 and I highly recommend their services.  Check Social is an employment background screening platform that uses publicly available information from the web and social media to assess a person’s online digital footprint: