We’re starting to get more savvy with our use of social media. When you sign up for a new social media account it defaults to public, so you switch it to private, right? If you don’t, anyone with an internet connection and a smart device could see all the content you share, articles you like, photos you’re tagged in and potentially your personal information including your date of birth and location.
Engaging with your friends and family or even your fav influencer or celeb through social media has become part of our everyday lives, and the dopamine hit we get from everyone loving our new post quarantine hairstyle (seriously I’ve never had so many DMs in my life!) is thrilling!
But who is really seeing you online?
My account is private, so what could go wrong?
Well let’s say you’ve set all your online accounts to the highest level of privacy possible. It’s only people who you’ve allowed to follow you or who you are friends with that can see your post break up “I’m doing fine” rant and that less than flattering picture Aunt Belinda posted to your wall.
But how long have you had your account for? Who on your friends list knows your ex and has just taken a screenshot of these posts and sent it to them?
Or maybe you forgot that your boss started following you 3 years ago before you set your account to private and they’ve just watched your “OMG I’m so hungover. Told my boss I’ve had a ‘family emergency’ so I can’t come in. LOL.”, stories.
Social media has some really great benefits. You can connect with the people in your life no matter where you are in the world, which during the pandemic has been a lifesaver for a lot of us. You can laugh at the latest TikTok craze and become a master editor/producer when making your own “Starbucks Drink” video with your equally attention starved friends and neighbors.
Some people find their tribes through social media. Connecting with people who share a common interest or perhaps understand something you’re going through can be life changing for some.
But you can still get all the goodness out of your Instagram account or Twitter feed without sharing potentially embarrassing, personal or career limiting details with the wrong people.
So, what should you do?
• If your accounts aren’t private, make them private.
• Check if there are levels to the privacy of the social media platform and go for the highest level of privacy where possible.
• Also check what kind of information you’ve made available, even if it’s only to your friends.
• Is your birthday, location, hometown, workplace, the school you attended 10 years ago there for people to see? Ask yourself why anyone needs to see this information about you?
• Check your friends and followers.
When social media started we weren’t too sure how it might be used in the future. Most of us added everyone we’d ever had any contact with. Your entire highschool history class, that girl you met drunk in line for the restroom on a night out. If you don’t interact with them or perhaps don’t even remember them, maybe it’s time for the dreaded "Follower Removal"–– But remember that you don’t need to write up that dramatic post about how you’re unfollowing people to be “more reflective of your real life”. Looks a bit odd when you decide to keep Becky on there for entertainment purposes even though you haven’t spoken to her in 11 years.
Think before you post. If you’re posting something that wouldn’t look good to a future employer or that you wouldn’t want certain people to see, maybe you don’t need to post it?
And finally, review past pictures and posts. This one can be a very time consuming task. Do you sometimes cringe when a photo or post from 9 years ago pops up in “on this day”?
Have you ever Tweeted something that perhaps wouldn’t be viewed in the same light if it were read now?
The good news is, you don’t have to do this alone! LifeBrand gives you back the control of your online past by allowing you to scan your social posts for anything harmful to your personal brand that you may have forgotten.