Keeping Your Public Life Private on the Web

If you’re like most college students, you’ve done some pretty stupid or embarrassing things from time-to-time and with modern technology, many of them may have been digitally documented and distributed over the web. These photos, even if they document something you did in public at a party, bar or out with friends, aren’t necessarily always something you want the whole world, including your parents, teachers and potential employers, to see. So how can you keep the fun you have out on the town on the down-low when it comes to the web? There are some basics you should know that can help protect you.

Keep your profile private on social networking sites. Those privacy settings are there for a reason, use them. Make your profile as private as possible. You can even make it impossible for others to search for you for a little extra privacy boost.

Untag yourself in photos. Don’t want certain photos associated with you? Sites like Facebook allow you to untag yourself, making it easier to maintain your anonymity in any ridiculous photos.

Ask friends to remove incriminating photos. If you have a friend who has posted some less than classy or just plain silly photos of you that you don’t really want in public view, ask them if they’ll remove them. A true friend should be willing to agree or move them to a more private forum.

Don’t use your full name. If you want to have an additional level of security, create all your online profiles with a different or abbreviated version of your name. This may make it harder for friends to find you, but it also keep away unwanted searches as well.

Google yourself. You don’t want to be surprised when a potential employer finds ridiculous pictures of you from your spring break vacation. Google yourself every few months to make sure there aren’t any pictures of you acting like a fool for anyone besides your close friends to see.

While nothing can help you if you look like an idiot in real time, there are ways that you can help ensure that documentation of those instances doesn’t hurt your chances of getting a job or land you in hot water with your parents. Being proactive and smart about managing your online reputation can be a big help at anytime in your life, so make it a priority before it ever becomes a problem.

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