Digitized Koffee With Nick
Spring Clean Your Social Media
By Nick Kossovan
Hopefully, your social media isn’t as messy as my closet. Like our real lives, our online lives can get just as cluttered. However, this clutter can cause more significant problems than a misplaced Hawaiian shirt.
I realize spring cleaning wasn’t intended to be a time for a social media checkup, but periodically reviewing your social media profiles to ensure they’re current, secure, and accurately represent you, is wise. I suggest you clean your social media no less than twice per year.
From privacy settings to setting secure passwords to deleting comments which no longer serve your reputation, every aspect of your social media and its resulting digital footprint is critical.
Expect your first spring cleaning to be tedious and that it’ll take time. However, it is worth the effort and will be easier the next time and so forth.
When conducting a cleaning of your social media sites, check off the following:
Check your privacy settings
Part of spring cleaning in the real world could be replacing well-worn curtains. Until you replace the curtains, your neighbours can see you. In the social media world, your neighbours are billions of people.
Log into your social media accounts, go to the settings menu, and look at your privacy setting(s). You have the right to just share with friends and not the world. Pay special attention to any setting allowing ads to target you.
So not to overlap your personal life with your professional life, I advise setting your Facebook privacy settings to ‘Friends’ (though keep in mind your posts can still be shared) and your Instagram privacy settings to ‘Private Account.’ Since you never know where your next professional opportunity may come from, leave your LinkedIn profile open.
Set all your social media accounts, so you approve follower requests (i.e., Protecting your Twitter account controls who gets to follow you and who doesn’t). A social media rule of thumb: Never accept a connection request without doing some due diligence. Accepting a connection request grants the person the ability to view your posts, see your followers, etc.
Change your passwords
‘123456’ isn’t a password. ‘ScarbTO876’ isn’t a password. The word ‘password’ isn’t a password. Whether you list your passwords on paper and put the list in a safe deposit box, create a Google Doc, or use one of the numerous password managers apps available, you need to create passwords that are secure, impossible to guess and different for every social media site and website. This means the password you use for LinkedIn shouldn’t also be your Facebook password.
A strong password comprises a minimum of 12 characters, includes numbers, symbols, capital and lower-case letters (BluffsEggs$619). For optimum security, change all your passwords at least three times per year. While this may seem like overkill, keep in mind everyday hackers are becoming more sophisticated. When possible, use two-factor authentication.
Clean up your comments and photos.
A good scrubbing of content you’ve posted is probably overdue. The goal is to do away with photos and content which no longer represents who you are, which you can do by:
Googling (don’t forget Yahoo, Bing, AOL, Ask.com, etc.) yourself.
- Unfollowing questionable followers and accounts.
- Deleting inappropriate content and photos (go back at least 18 months).
- Digging up old email addresses and aliases and deactivating them.
Always keep top of mind; nothing on the Internet is entirely private. Moving forward, if you want a clean online presence, think twice before you leave a comment or post a picture.
Clean up your friends and followers.
This will be a bigger job if you are on #TeamFollowBack, where you follow every single person who follows you. Don’t do that — you’ll end up with a noisy feed full of stuff you don’t need or want (spam). Unfollow the people you never really wanted to follow in the first place. Make it a non-negotiable rule to carefully choose your future followers and only follow accounts you want to be associated with.
And just like that, you’re done your social media spring cleaning. No vacuum canister to empty, no garbage bags to haul to the curb. It’s worth noting my mother did a fall cleaning every Labour Day weekend.
~ Nick Kossovan is the Customer Service Professionals Network’s Director of Social Media (Executive Board Member). Submit your social media questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.