Managing Your Online Presence as a Student
The growth of the internet is so far-reaching and pervasive that it’s difficult to even imagine life pre-internet and when you add social media into the mix, you’re looking at another ball game. Though social media has been great for connecting people all across the world, the downside is that our presence online is bigger than ever. It becomes easy to forget that, when we update our profile regularly or even get tagged in photos, this information is out in the world for everyone to see. Short of leaving social media all together, how can we ensure that the image that we’re projecting online is the one that we want the world to see?
With that in mind, here are a few ways that you can maintain your image online:
Think before you post. Re-consider posting any angry posts about a teacher or questionable photos on social media sites, even if it is on your personal blog. Every time someone does a search for you, or even does a search for your school news, that could potentially be the first information that comes up. Is that really the first impression that you want to give?
Google yourself regularly. You can only control your reputation online if you know what’s out there. Even though you may have a squeaky clean image and rarely post online, you might unfortunately share the same name with someone of a more questionable nature who does. It’s best to do damage control early before you start your next job hunt. As well, take a look at any Canadian college directories to see what else may be out there about you.
Update and maintain your online profile. Set all of your accounts to private (other than career networking websites such as LinkedIn) to control who is able to see your profile. There’s nothing wrong with having fun photos of yourself with friends, but do you want the entire world to be able to see them? As social media sites regularly change their privacy settings, it’s always best that you check the privacy of your profiles regularly.
Protecting Your Online Reputation
One thing to always keep in mind every time you post a picture or do a status update is to ask yourself the question: how would my mom or grandmother feel is she saw this? If answering that question gives you doubts, then re-consider posting. Though something may seem like a good idea in the moment, who knows how you may feel months or even years later? There are many individuals who have lost a job over a status or a Halloween costume that seemed like a good idea at the time. However, once the dust settles and the offender realizes that they were wrong, that reputation online will follow them everywhere, no matter how much they’ve changed.
Getting Rid of a Negative Online Image
Finally, once the damage has been done, don’t lose hope. Though that embarrassing photo will follow you around for the rest of your life, you can ensure that it won’t show up on the first page of any search that is done on you. Replace embarrassing information with new content by doing things such as starting a new blog, or having a more recent positive social media presence that will move your old information to the bottom of a search. Take the time to read more educational articles for ideas on what to post online.
For more tips on how to manage your reputation online take a look at the video below: