September 23, 2019
Delete, erase, and hide.
Unless you live under a rock, you’ve probably heard about the recent major PR controversy Canada’s prime minister’s Justin Trudeau has found himself in.
Time Magazine has obtained a yearbook from 2001 where Canada’s prime minister is proudly posing with a ‘brownface’ and a turban at the West Point Grey Academy. Something that is, to put it mildly, as inappropriate now as it was back in 2001.
As Canada’s charming PM is dealing with this PR disaster, it is a good time for everybody to do some internet hygiene so that these types of images or posts won’t ruin your career or status.
1. When deleting, start with your oldest posts
So the first one is obvious. Scroll down your year’s worth of posts and delete everything that might be considered inappropriate. You might have been young and stupid like Prince Harry when he wore that swastika, but it’s not an excuse when these things surface. Consider this: 50% of employers say that they will not hire someone who posted something inappropriate on social media. And we all know that they do check your profiles before hiring.
Pro tip: Start with the oldest, not the newest posts. Chances are, more controversy is lying there.
2. Consider making all your posts ‘Friends only’
The age of self means that more and more posts are becoming public. Those Instagram selfies of you having a good time with the guys, the girls night out or that hangover face after a night in Vegas – do you really want every single person in the world to see them? Just talking about common sense here: make your posts ‘Friends only’, so that only you and your mates are able to follow your social life.
Pro tip: You don’t have to do this manually. Most popular social media sites like Facebook and Instagram let you control the privacy of all your posts with few simple clicks.
3. Consider a personal website instead of social media
When you Google yourself, chances are your social media results come out on top. Even a name change (which is against Facebook’s T&C’s btw) will not solve this. Consider launching a personal website that represents you for potential employers & clients. There are personal blogs for those who love to write. People who paint, photograph or design have their personal websites as portfolios. Some are even looking for a job with an online CV. In fact, data from hosting provider Hostinger shows the rise in the number of personal websites. So why not go with the flow?
Pro tip: if your surname.com is already taken, consider different domain extensions like your surname.xyz or .online.
In these days of social media, everything you post is, or can become, a liability. Consider your social hygiene to be as important as brushing your teeth in the morning, and then you will be sure not to end up like Justin Trudeau.
The author, Ram Kezel, is the Public Relations Coordinator at Hostinger.