Not all footprints online are this clean.
Everything you have ever done on the internet leaves some form of trace. Whether it's a discussion you had on Facebook or a photo you posted online in college, it's all out there, in some way, shape or form. If you're looking for a job or concerned with building a business, it's important to look at and consider cleaning your digital footprint. But how?
What Should You Be Concerned About When Cleaning Your Digital Footprint?
Tidying your digital footprint is really up to your judgment. Some industries have more stringent views of certain topics than others, and what may be innocent to one person in one industry is an instant rejection in another.
The best standard to use is, Does this fit the standard of professionalism for my business or occupation? If the answer is no, it's better to remove it.
Beyond that, remember that few, if any, individuals bother with the first few links on the first page of search results. Covering the first page should be fine for your privacy.
Start with Your Social Media Profiles
Go through each social media profile you own and look carefully at your status updates, photos posted, photos you're tagged in, comments made and other materials. If you find something you think might keep you from repairing your digital footprint, remove it. Most just make their Facebook profiles private and are done with it, but unfortunately the law on this issue is still evolving. In many states, it's still legal to demand an applicant log into his or her Facebook and let the hiring manager browse their profile. Remove the actual content; don't just lock your profile.
Revise Your Blog
Even a private blog is likely to turn up on a web search, so go through your blog and eliminate any content you feel might reflect negatively on you. Often erasing your digital footprint completely is necessary here.
Clean email means clean search results.
Use a Professional Email
Consider putting all professional email into a newly started account and leaving your personal email out of any communications. It's very simple to search someone's email on a search engine, and it may turn up things you hadn't thought of before like material in old social networks that amazingly is still online. A professional email will help keep your private and professional lives separate and maintain a professional digital footprint.
Screen Your Commenting Accounts on Websites
If you use the same screenname for multiple sites, it may be connected to your name somehow. If you want to keep commenting on a website, but stay anonymous, change your screenname to something unaffiliated with any other site or completely delete your account and start over on the site.
Search Your Name
Run your name through a few search engines and see what you may have to do to fix your digital footprint. Be sure to both search for text and search for pictures. Remember that Google and other sites may archive websites, so you might see material that you just deleted. It will likely disappear as Google updates its results.
Request Sites You Can't Edit to Remove the Content
Websites will have varying policies on removing content, but it never hurts to send a polite email requesting that content be removed. You can also send a request to some search engines to have specific internet results removed.
If this seems a daunting task, help is a click away. ReputationDefender will help you find and remove embarrassing content in your digital footprint while replacing them with high quality material. Don't let the internet decide your first impression. Use ReputationDefender.