The true danger of social media in the workplace isn’t even truly your own. You can keep it clean, delete every post about a drunken Saturday, and of course you can ensure that every post is a PG-13 at most, but that’s not always enough.
Imagine for a moment your prospective employer, before offering you a job, scours the internet for anything that could reflect poorly on their company. A quick search of your name is usually enough to prompt an immediate return of information, but if that wasn’t enough they now have your email, phone number, and usually you’re address. That’s all the information they need to peel back the layers of your privacy.
After digging slightly deeper they are met with a profile that is not yours. It’s your friends. In that friends pictures is a random “throwback” of that time you got drunk at a party and made obscene gestures at the camera. Clearly this is less than appropriate.
When cleaning your social media to enter the workplace a person must assume that nothing is private. Nothing is ever deleted for good. Sure that post could be a year old, even three, or ten years old! Regardless, it’s you. It’s you in a situation you wouldn’t want your boss seeing.
●Start with your own pictures, these are the most incriminating. Delete anything advocating “risky” behavior. Promiscuity, alcohol, fights, etc. Since the dawn of the digital era people have become more and more alike with their online profiles, but this doesn’t mean your online persona is exempt from scrutiny.
●Next your posts. Anything vague, gone. Anything curse words, gone. Any long winded rants: that time you vented about your coworker that makes snide comments, the time your boss was mad you showed up five minutes late, and who could forget the obviously misread inside jokes between your best friend. Delete them all. Anything that can be seen as misleading, inappropriate, or using foul language is again a reflection on who you are.
●Lastly, once you’ve cleaned everything else up you should view your tagged posts and statuses. Ask friends not to tag you unless you give permission, or change your privacy settings on apps to reflect that choice. Don’t let a bad picture or misunderstood sentence interfere with the chance of a lifetime.
In conclusion, don’t let your friends, family, or yourself stand in the way of your success. You might be concerned with losing that precious photo of your wilder days, or maybe a certain joke still makes you laugh, but that’s what memories are. Remember who you were, but become who you want to be. For now, that person is a career driven, hard-working, and polite person. Good luck!