Students Staff
University of Essex

January 30, 2018

Managing your digital footprint – part 1

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — sgswaine @ 11:02 am
digital-footprint

www.tagxedo.com 2017

Managing your digital footprint (part 1)

I recently did a Google search on my name for a ‘health check’ on my digital footprint. I’m usually fairly careful about what I post online, but even I was surprised by how much unwanted content was floating around. It prompted me to spend a valuable half hour cleaning up posts, anonymising my numerous account profiles and checking my login and access history.

One of the things that popped up was a picture I tweeted in the summer of some guys playing naked rounders at ‘The End’ of term celebrations. Something that was a bit of harmless fun at the time, now looks somewhat dubious when taken out of context. In hindsight, I wish I hadn’t posted it because even though I’ve deleted my original tweet, that picture still pops up in Google images and links back to my twitter feed (I tagged the University’s twitter account), and there’s nothing I can do about it.

Managing your digital footprint needs regular attention or ‘housekeeping’ as I like to put it. It’s very easy to lose track – not only of what you’re posting and where you’re posting it to, but also who is inadvertently linked to you by proxy. For example, the default settings in WhatsApp means that photos and videos sent to you from other people are automatically added to your phone’s photo library. If you don’t like what you see, you have to manually delete it. You can change this default setting by turning off Save to Camera Roll in the WhatsApp Chats settings.

riley_connor

Riley Connor on CISCO job offer

Like it or not, employers are becoming increasingly interested in potential candidates’ online presence and will often look beyond the carefully constructed resume and cover letter to find clues online about the type of person you really are, not only professionally, but also socially. Employers want to know if you have the right personality to fit in to their team and ultimately their organisation.

Don’t make the same mistake as Connor Riley, a 22 year old information management graduate who, after being offered a job, wrote a Tweet that was eventually passed on to someone in HR and her job offer was subsequently rescinded.

The bad news is that unfortunately gaffes like this happen all too often. The good news is that we can learn from this and avoid making the same mistake in future. Business Insider has some more stories of How people who were fired for using Facebook.

There’s nothing wrong with being outspoken or having strong viewpoints, but you should never insult others because they think differently to you, nor write racist, offensive or abusive comments on social media, news articles or blogs. It will almost certainly come back to haunt you.

trump

Given the current climate, you may be tempted to wade in on a political debate, but this rarely ends well and people can be much more aggressive when it’s anonymous than when face-to-face. If things are getting heated, it’s best to take a step back and think how a current or future employer might view your remarks. If in doubt, don’t say anything at all.

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Of course social media can produce some spectacular wins when done right, like the Twitter conversation between customer @RiccardoEspaa7 and mobile operator @tescomobile. The ‘conversation took a surprising turn‘ when they were joined by @YorkshireTea, @RealJaffaCakes, @CadburyUK and @PhileasFogg.

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How do I start my health check? Try viewing your Facebook profile as ‘Public’ to see how much of your personal life is on display. Just follow these steps:

  • Open your Facebook page
  • Click on the ? in the top right of the menu bar
  • From the drop down menu choose Privacy shortcuts > Who can see my stuff? > What do other people see on my Timeline? > View as