It’s no secret that we live on the internet. Imagine that you didn’t have data on your phone or that your laptop was busted for a week. It’s a simultaneous feeling of sadness and unproductivity that will nag at you until you get your internet connections (yes, connections, plural) back. It’s not like you were going to be productive with your laptop anyway, you just want the option, you know? Just in case you hit a wave of motivation and decide that you’re going to write that paper right meow.
Being online has its ups and downs, but quite frankly, the downs really suck. Lost job opportunities, friends judging you 24/7, and an unreasonable amount of time spent trolling your enemies, just to name a few. So what can we do to make sure that we have a good time online while avoiding as many of the downsides as possible? Here are a few tidbits on managing your online presence.
1. Google yourself (your name and your common usernames).
I know, it sounds awkward, but the amount of information that you can find about yourself online is obscene. Google Image search yourself too, to find your photos. Remember that one time when you were 12 years old and thought it would be fun to post a review about your latest Best Buy purchase? Yeah, that still exists with AlL oF yOuR tYpInG mIsTaKeS. You know when you deleted your Twitter account and thought that would solve your problems with that platform? You’ll still find old tweets on Google searches. The first step to managing your online presence is to know what information about you exists. Get familiar with it and then get deleting. You can also set up Google Alerts to keep on top of it on a regular basis.
2. Keep your LinkedIn profile up to date.
You build your profile with a professional photo, a great summary, and a long list of work experience and awards. Then you forget about your LinkedIn account for the next three years. Sound familiar? It’s too easy to let your LinkedIn page become an online time capsule. It’s not that people are searching for you on LinkedIn to offer you jobs, but you can bet that anybody interviewing you will look at your LinkedIn profile at least once. It make the final decision on your last round of interviews when you and another candidate are equally liked. It sounds dramatic but it happens more often than you would like to think.
3. Understand “hidden” features.
I’m not talking about truly hidden features that require coding knowledge. What I mean is that there are features like Facebook Graph Search that reveals everything you thought you hid on your profile. Don’t know about Graph Search? Head to Facebook and search “photos of…” and type somebody who you know hides photos, or somebody who isn’t your friend. Bam. Every picture they’ve ever been tagged in. Want to creep a relationship? “Relationship between…” Want to read posts that are blocked to you? “Posts by…” Graph Search doesn’t show you everything and the results are out of chronological order, but they’re still there. In fact, the wonkiness of Graph Search means that the awful photo of you in a Tigger onesie at the ripe age of 7 may pop up at the top of somebody’s search. Sorry.
How do you manage your online presence?
Featured Photo courtesy of Sheila Scarborough via Flickr (CC-BY-2.0).