Optimizing Digital Footprint
Digital footprint. What is that? It’s everything about you that people can see online. You know that party last year where you were playing beer pong, posted pictures on your facebook page. Well now that picture is there for everyone to see. Now you may say that’s not a big deal I don’t mind all of my friends and family seeing these pictures, it’s not that big of a deal. YOU’RE WRONG. These pictures are now on the internet; this means that more than just your family and friends on facebook can see them. That means that possible employers can now see these pictures. How many employers when they Google possible candidates for a job want to see that candidate taking a beer bong or drunk in a bar. Easy answer. NONE. So in this blog post I am going to talk about all of the ways you can improve your digital footprint so that you can use social media to your own advantage. Because in this day and age, with the way technology works, employers WILL Google you.
The first step I would take is to lock down facebook. Right now my whole profile is public which means that anyone can see most of the content on my facebook page without even being my friend. This means that everyone can see my drunken pictures from prom two years ago, and my beer bong pictures from Halloween. If I were to be looking for a job right now and an employer found me on facebook and saw the pictures and content on it, I do not believe that they would be very impressed. This means that I would have to go into my privacy settings and make it so that my entire profile is private and I would be able to control who would see specific content on my profile. I would also get rid of most of my drinking pictures. There are a lot from high school years and bars, stuff like that and they are not the best pictures to have to improve my reputation. To remove pictures that I have posted I would just have to go in and delete the pictures, for others I may just be able to untag myself and then it would not be an issue, but for some that you really need to get rid of so that no one can see them you may have to ask some of your friends that have posted these pictures to delete them so that they are actually gone rather than just not on your profile.
Next step to stay on top of my digital footprint would to actually Google myself on a regular bases. When you do this, you get to see what other people are seeing if they happen to Google you. For example, if you Google your own name and the first thing that pops up is something that you don’t want a future employer to see, you might want to fix that. By regularly searching yourself you can see what the first glance into your life people are going to see. Personally when I Google myself the first things that come up, other than the obvious Facebook and Twitter, are articles about my curling career. There are articles from last year when my junior team went to provincials, and even all the way back to my high school curling career at Moira Secondary School, including a couple Bay of Quinte and COSSA gold medals. This is exactly the type of thing I would like employers to be looking at. So in that aspect of my digital footprint I am already doing a good job and I need to make sure that it stays that way.
The last thing that I would do to improve my digital footprint is to clean up twitter. Instead of tweeting about random things you do and inappropriate things I would need to make it more professional. Less drunk tweets and things that can get you in trouble with respect to work. This may mean that I would have to go back and delete some questionable tweets from the past too. Depending on what you really have tweeted. Making your twitter account more professional also means maybe making another account with a more appropriate name or changing the one you already have. You want it to be easy for people to know they have you. So mine would be @RileyCalwell and display name would be Riley Calwell, not something like “Big-R” which is a nickname I got that I use for my bbm display name. It’s just all about being professional and this makes it so that if someone goes on your twitter profile they know it’s you. This makes you easy to find for anyone who may be looking for you. Not saying that’s always a good thing, but if your digital footprint is taken care of then you will have nothing to worry about.
In conclusion, with the way technology is, you have to be careful, but more importantly be prepared. This means that you must stay on top of your digital footprint and watch what you are doing on your social media tools to make sure that you are giving yourself a positive image. When employers search you on Google you want them to see a whole bunch of reasons why they should hire you and why you would be a good candidate, they don’t want to see how well you can handle a beer bong.