Things to consider when thinking about your online profile:​

​Choose the right tools

Research social networks, online services etc. before joining up to make sure they are the right fit for you.

Read the small print

It may seem boring but it is important to understand what you are signing up for by reviewing a services terms & conditions before committing yourself to it.

Think about what you share

Think about the content you share, who you share it with, and what any possible impact there may be from sharing it. Respect others and maintain the respect you deserve online.

Check your privacy settings

Frequently review your privacy, security, and sharing settings on social networks and online services to ensure you are sharing exactly what you want, with who you want.

Choosing the right tools

It is important to consider the tools you wish to use when thinking about social media and online services. Different networks and services are geared towards different purposes, and it’s often the case that people find themselves having an account on a network or service that doesn’t fit with their personal goals.

These accounts often become discarded and forgotten about, but can still contain information about you that is searchable.

Do your research on a new tool or service before signing up and giving your information, where possible seek advice from friends or colleagues who already use the service, or check reviews online.

Check the T&Cs

Most if not all online tools & services come with terms and conditions that set out the rules of using that service. Whilst this may seem boring to read, it is important to familiarise yourself with this information as it contains details on how the service will use your information, what you have to do (and not do) in order to adhere to the terms, and what penalties the service may offer for any breach.

Online terms & conditions are often legally enforceable contracts, so it is a good idea to at least familiarise yourself with the basic key points before signing up to a service, clicking accept or submit.

Think about what you share

It is important when using online services to share information that you consider your audience, and why you are using the service. Are you using it for professional networking, perhaps to help find a job, is it a place where you catch up with friends and family, or do you use it for all of these reasons?

Either way, sharing content online is the same as sharing information in real life – you wouldn’t walk up to a stranger and tell them personal information, or show them personal photos or videos, much as you wouldn’t arrive at a job interview drunk, and/or wearing inappropriate clothes.

The information you share online becomes part of your online identity, this is how people see you – and in the case of job searching and networking can often be a person’s first impression of you. It is also worth pointing out that sometimes communication online can be misinterpreted or taken out of context, so it’s best to think about what you share, consider your audience, and the impact your message, tweet, photo, video, link etc. may have on your reputation, or the reputation of others.

Check your privacy settings

The easiest way to ensure you have control of what information you share, and who shares information with you is to frequently review the privacy and security settings of the tools & services you use.

Frequency is the key here – as most services are continually updating and reviewing tools and features. So it is important to stay current and regularly check privacy, security, and sharing settings.

Dealing with inappropriate content

You can do all of the above to ensure your online reputation is as you want it to be, but this does not stop others from posting content that may relate to you in some way (good or bad). If a friend or someone you know posts an image, video, or text that you feel may impact your reputation, you can take action to remove it. In the first instance it’s always worth contacting and asking them to remove the offending content. If this does not work you can follow reporting procedures on social networks and online services to have content removed. This does not guarantee the content will be gone forever, but is a positive step in protecting your reputation.