Tips for managing your online footprint

How the world views you is through their own eyes but also through the eyes of Google… Everything you put online or have an association with will in some form or another affect the way people form opinions.

I know… you are thinking this shouldn’t be the case! Why should what you do online, reject or favour your own reputation and how others view you…

Well, take a look at the stats:

Social media is HUGE! It is a growing trend and something we all (from a very young age) need to consider our online footprint. It has been suggested by many professionals, that young people will need to change their name before having the chance to enter the professional work place due to their ignorance whilst experimenting online. For example, many young people are uploading drunken videos, photos, writing obscene comments on blogs, websites or chat sites. What they now need to realise, is it’s there forever. It may be lost out of sight for a while, but until someone wants to find something on you, it may become visual again!

From the current view on online footprints I have put together some advice to guide young professionals, especially university students to generate a positive online profile:

Online footprints…

1. Remember to set your Facebook privacy settings – Employers search Facebook to see what you are like outside the working environment and you should keep your private life as personal as possible.

2. Think who your actual friends are whilst on Facebook – Remember that if you add any random person into your Facebook profile as your friend, then this opens your settings to them, and also to their connections (depending on your FB settings).

3. Consider what you upload – When you upload anything to an online or social network site, you should remember that it will be there forever. Even if you remove your upload it can be copied or stored by someone else. Your name will be assigned to these uploads and therefore any future employer will be able to see it.

4. If you wouldn’t mind your mother seeing it – then it’s fine to do! Check everything you do online by asking yourself this questions – “Would I mind if my mother saw this?”… This will help filter out things which may not be beneficial to you in future years.

Personal profile online…

1. University students have the upper-hand, so use it! When you finish university and start looking for your career starting point, young graduates will have an advantage and a skill which employers are looking for. You understand social media! This is an important tool and skill to utilize in any interview, as many businesses are run by the generations which find it a lot harder to understand the changes made in social media.

2. Use university to gather those skills – Whilst you have more free time during studying, it is wise to build up your skills of using online mediums and tools. These will be most likely used in any future career role, and greatly appreciated by your future peers. (Believe me… it’s harder to gather these skills whilst working, as time is rather limited!)

3. Build up your profile – Build yourself a blog or a website and use it to show what skills you have gathered from university. Everyone is graduating with a degree these days, so the challenge is to show that you are different from the masses. Therefore, building an online profile is a crucial way of showing that you are unique,ย hard working and you understand the current environment. A blog can also be used for building your portfolio, which is a great way to showcase the projects and work you are involved in at university.

I hope these pointers help to understand the dangers and the positives that the current environment has brought. Good luck with developing your own online profile and watch your online footprint!

Please do get in touch if you need any advice or help – or comment if you have any more pointers which will help!

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3 thoughts on “Tips for managing your online footprint”

  1. What about Twitter?

    I find students use their Facebook profile photos on Twitter, and have the same ‘private’ chats – in public.

    So I find myself advising:
    Facebook is for friends (so keep it private)
    Twitter is for conversations (in public)

    1. Hi Richard,

      Yes I believe that is very true also! The different tools and their audiences need to be understood much more.

      I find that I use my social media tools in different ways – Facebook is for your personal life, Twitter is more professional but a great way to communicate to both professionals and friends (understanding that it is visiable to everyone). Then I use my blog for a much more professional and career based use.

      This way all platforms are covered.

      Thanks for your comment, and a good area to explore for another post – social media tools, their audiences and uses for PR students…!

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