I remember there were times when I would be conversing with someone, and through our conversation they would find out that I had a YouTube channel. A race would swiftly unfold to see how quickly they were able to find my channel, versus how quickly I was able to erase all evidence of its existence from the internet. You may have found yourself in a similar situation to this, but perhaps with another social media platform. Maybe you have a job interview coming up, and don’t want your online activities to discount you or make you seem less professional or capable. It may also be that you tend to get super paranoid of your information being online, or simply want off the internet for no particular reason whatsoever. If any of these sound like you, then you’ve found the right article.
Here are 5 Quick and Easy Ways You Can Clean up Your Social Media Presence:
- Google Yourself. Okay, this may take a bit longer than “quick”, but hear me out. You can’t know what you need to clean up until you know what exactly is out there. I personally like to Google myself to see what my potential employers or “special friends” might find out about me on the internet. I remember I would always find random pictures from my Facebook account, that were then tied to random websites due to me using the “Sign Up with Facebook” feature. You know when you want to use a website, and they require you to sign up first? But you’re too lazy to fill out the sign up form, so instead you opt to use the “Sign up with Facebook” feature? Yea, that feature. Consequently, whatever profile picture you have up at the time, would then end up on whatever site you are signing up for. And guess what…now Google Images has those photos as well.
2. Private your social media accounts. This might be one of the easiest things you can do to clean up your social media presence, with little to no consequence. Sure your lurkers can no longer creep on your profile, but I’d think that would be a benefit. With a private account, no one can see what you post, or who you even follow. Let’s say your employer wants to know what kind of things you’re interested in. Who and what you follow on social media can be a good representation of your character; or a grave misrepresentation. So sometimes, it’s best to keep these things sort of things to yourself.
3. Remove hashtags from your social media posts and limit your use of them in the future. I get it. Did you even do what you said you did if it’s not #hashtagged? Hashtags can be your best friend, your your worst enemy. If you are looking to grow your social media accounts, then hashtags can serve as a solution to getting the eyeballs you need on your content. But what happens when you don’t want your content to be found? You may be thinking, “No one will be able to see my posts behind this privated account”. That cannot be further from the truth. The truth is…your #hashtagged content can be viewed in whichever #hashtagged category it is #hashtagged in, regardless if your account is private or not. Was that too much?
4. Transfer your current content to a burner account. This is something I would do from time to time when I felt like changing my username, but still wanted to keep my original account name. I would change my current account to a random name no one would think of searching, then quickly create a new account with my old account name. So now, my previous account name is tied to an account with no content on it, while my new random burner account (that no one would even think of searching) now contains all my old content that I want hidden. However, you must be quick when doing this in the 0.0001% chance someone decides to grab your original account name before you’re able to make the swap. (Please note that I neither confirm nor deny the 0.0001% statistic of someone snatching your username mid swap).
5. Deactivate or Delete your social media. Sometimes the best and quickest way to truly clean up your social media presence, is to remove yourself from the internet entirely. Yes this may be a bit extreme, but it may be necessary if you are unsatisfied with steps 1–4. If you’re like many others, who are unhappy with the way large organizations have been handling your data, then you may want to pull the plug on social media entirely. But be warned, this is a permanent for many social media sites (so please don’t delete your account unless you are absolutely sure you’re done with the internet, thanks). If you think you may just need a quick and temporary solution to disappearing from the internet instead (perhaps your friend found your YouTube channel like mine did), then perhaps deactivating your account would be a better solution for you. Now I know you may be wondering…”Why didn’t you just recommend I deactivate my account from the very beginning?”. Well you see, steps 1–4 allows you to use your social media platform, while simultaneously cleaning up your social media presence; deactivation, not so much.
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