So now you know why you need to manage your online reputation. As an artist or as a job-seeking individual, future clients and employers are looking and you need to take control of what they see. Let’s look at a few easy things that you can do today to clean up your Facebook profile and avoid missing out on opportunities because of embarrassing content.
Be ruthless with this. I don’t want to see any pictures of your first keg stand or the outrageously inappropriate costume you wore for Halloween.
If you are thinking to yourself, “I’m going to have to untag this” then maybe you shouldn’t take it in the first place. Also, there should be absolutely no pictures of underage drinking or illegal drug consumption in your profile.
Most people create a “Limited Profile” list of friends, where they choose who they don’t want to see their pictures and other content. Instead of this, try creating a “Pictures Viewable” list of friends, where you choose who you do want to see your pictures. This reduces the number of random people viewing your content, because you have to consciously choose who gets to see it.
- Go to your Friends page and “Create New List” titled “Pictures Viewable”.
- Now click “All Connections” and select the friends you want to see your pictures by clicking “Add to List” and selecting “Pictures Viewable”.
- Go into your Profile Privacy Settings. Select “Custom” on the drop-down menu next to Photos Tagged of You.
- Select the bullet “Some Friends” and type in “Pictures Viewable” or whatever you named the group.
- Uncheck any networks you had selected previously.
Now, in order for people to see your pictures, they must be manually added to this exclusive group.
Facebook, by default, allows almost everyone to see your profile. This is probably, not what you want. Explore the Privacy Settings menu and customize to your liking. In my opinion, the safer the better. Here are my suggestions:
- Limit your profile visibility to “Only Friends” or something more exclusive.
- Have your Search visibility set to Everyone, but only allow people who find you in search to see a Profile Picture, link to add you as a friend, and a link to message you.
- Create a public listing for search engines. You still want people to be able to find you, just not able to stalk you.
Even once you have created an exclusive friends list for your pictures and untagged any embarrassing photos, you still have to go in and manually delete any profile pictures that you might not want visible. Click directly on your profile pictures to browse through your Profile Pictures Album. Hit Delete Photo for any pictures that don’t meet the same criteria you used to clear up your other photos.
Have you Googled your name recently? While self-searching might seem a little narcissistic, it is becoming a vital practice in managing your personal brand and cleaning up your online reputation.
According to a survey by Jump Start Social Media:
- 48% of hiring managers use Facebook, 75% use LinkedIn, and 26% use Twitter to research candidates before making a job offer.
In addition, according to CNN.com:
- 34% of hiring managers choose not to hire a candidate based on what they find in online profiles.
Managing your online reputation is becoming more and more important, whether you like it or not. Penelope Trunk writes that you do not have to quit your day job to pursue a career in art. To help maintain or obtain that day job, let’s look at some of the things you can do right now to start cleaning up your digital dirt.
If your employers are going to be googling you, then you should know what they are going to see. This preliminary search will give you an idea of where you stand with your online identity. Is there a lot of embarrassing stuff out there about you? Is there nothing out there about you (this is an equally important problem that I will discuss later)? Set up a Google Alert that will let you know every time a new search result appears with your name.
Compile a comprehensive list of all your profiles on social networking sites and any other profiles that might come up in a search for your name. The object of managing your personal brand online is not becoming invisible, but rather controlling what future business contacts, employers, and colleagues will see. For profiles and accounts that you do not want to show up in search results, simply use an ambiguous display name and avatar. Use Google to remind yourself of profiles you might have that you forgot about.
If hiring managers are looking on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, then you definitely want to be visible in those places.
CNN says that “of the hiring managers who use social networking sites for candidate research, 24 percent said profiles encouraged them to hire the job seekers.”
Being on these sites can give you a leg up against the competition, but only if you are conscious and cautious of the material posted. When considering any social network, keeping in mind that privacy is a precaution, not a solution. If content is online, then it is accessible one way or another.
To get a head start: Untag your keg stand pictures.