How to Protect Your Online Reputation

With all the different social media outlets (Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Instagram, Pinterest), it is easy to get carried away with what you post. But remember, the Internet is forever and the things you tweet, hashtag, and pin are out there for everyone to see (even potential employers). Remember the lady who tweeted a racist comment before a trip to South Africa, and ended up unemployed before her plane even landed? Don’t be like her. Here are some tips on what to do, and what not to do, when it comes to your online presence.


Employ every privacy setting: It is possible on every social media site to keep your account private. That means only the people you allow to see your stuff, will see it. This will prevent a potential employer from seeing anything you may not want them to see (ie. your best friend’s bachelorette party photos). Also, it’s just safer to make sure strangers can’t see your profile.

Change your name: Some people, such as new teachers, don’t want their students to be able to search for their social media profiles, so they use their first and middle name, or a generic last name. Your friends will still know it’s you, but no one else will be able to search for you.

Talk to your friends about their tagging addictions: Make sure your friends know that you would appreciate it if they took down that picture of you doing a keg stand in college. Even if you aren’t tagged, it’s still there, and it is probably better to keep the recklessness of your younger days off the internet.

Be nice: Some people use social media to publicly call out others, for whatever reason. Don’t be a part of it. Just because you came to your senses and deleted that tweet later, doesn’t mean it is gone. Just look at all the tweets celebrities delete that still end up as a screen shot on TMZ.


Add everyone and their half cousin as a friend: It may be tempting to add even the most distant acquaintance to every social media channel you have, but ultimately it is better to be a little more choosey about who you associate with. Use your Linkedin for career related connections, your Facebook and Instagram for friends, and your Twitter for a little bit of both.

Over share: No one cares what you are eating for dinner, so think before you upload a photo of your Delissio frozen pizza. And unless you are a makeup artist using your own face as a canvas, no one needs to be treated to 12 selfies from different angles, every day. Post relevant, thoughtful things, or you might find yourself unfriended due to your constant over sharing.

Tweet while under the Influence: Actually, just avoid social media altogether if you have had a few drinks. It might seem like a great idea to post that picture of you and your third tequila shot, but guaranteed, you will regret that in the morning when your Aunt Sue is asking if this is what a “typical Saturday night” looks like.

Change your Relationship Status every other day: Even if your relationship status really is “it’s complicated”, no one needs to know that. People will really start to question your judgement if you are going from “single” to “in a relationship” to “it’s complicated” all within a few days. Notice how people eventually stop asking if you are okay? It’s because they no longer take you seriously.

Tags: career, Facebook, friendship, Instagram, linkedin, networking, online reputation, Pinterest, privacy, protect, reputation, social media, social media over sharing, Twitter

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