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How to Secure Social Network Profiles

31 Days of Spring Cleaning: Perform a Social Media Audit

Sign online in the morning and it's likely your first stop of the day is a social network. We pour our lives into these digital communities, sharing party photos, funny videos, and clever status updates. Do you know who's looking at all these updates, though? Take today's Spring cleaning tips as the chance to finally update your social media privacy settings and take charge of the online image you're sharing with the world. Perform a social media audit by following these tips to put your best profile forward.

  • Search yourself — Sign out of every social media account and view how your profile looks to a stranger. Does any embarrassing or questionable material show up that you'd rather future employers, family members, or anyone of significance not see? First, secure your public accounts if you prefer to control who sees your tweets and "likes." Update account privacy settings to further secure your profile from people you are already linked to, or play it safe and delete the material entirely. Go an extra step and Google your name to ensure there's really nothing wild out on the Internet you don't want others to see.
  • Use a pseudonym — If you're looking to keep your online activity private, don't sign up for accounts under your full name. Also avoid usernames you used before privacy was a concern, you know, like that AIM handle from high school that's just slightly inappropriate for anyone over the age of 16.
  • Use an alternate email — In addition to the alias, separate your social media accounts from your work and personal email by using a secondary email account in your profile information. This way people searching for your profile via your personal email address won't find you as easily. Don't worry if your Facebook or Pinterest account have already been created, you can change the default email address.
  • Prevent future offenses — Avoid future online embarrassing moments by keeping your social record clean. Don't add photos of you raging at a party to Facebook or bite your digital tongue when it comes to ranting about a current work situation. Even with hypersecure privacy settings, a good rule of thumb is just never share images or thoughts online you wouldn't want forwarded to someone else, since anyone can screen capture your content.
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