Time to Prune Your Social Media History
Every week we hear about someone who has an embarrassing social post come back to haunt them. Even worse, this can lead to a loss of employment or being “canceled”. You need to actively manage your social image and reputation at all times. Wait! We have freedom of speech! Yes, but that does not mean freedom from accountability, judgment, and consequences. It’s up to you to set your risk tolerance. Here is guidance to help you decide and better manage your image.
Risks and considerations for having an expanded social presence
As I watched more and more people having to explain, delete, and apologize for past posts, I spent time considering my social trail, goals, and risk I was willing to take. Several major insights occurred to me:
- No one goes back to really old posts or sees what you like unless they are looking for someone specific or seeing who you are. When was the last time you scrolled through posts from 2 years ago?!
- Delete all old messages that do not have lasting value.
- What is acceptable now may be Cancelled in the future or understood under a different context. Imagine I posted about taking my niece to the zoo and how much fun we had. 10 years from now, what if zoos are considered horrible places of the past that unfairly incarcerated animals? There is such a limited value to having that post 10 years from now, that’s it’s just better to make it a point in time and delete it.
- Match your message and purpose with your platform: Social platforms are not a good place to sway opinions. I decided to focus on each location with how I could best reach my goal.
- LinkedIn – Professional image and content related to my current purpose and focus. Keep content timeless and safe to minimize professional risk. Don’t worry about history.
- Twitter – Pint in time notifications or very short updates. Delete all Tweets older than 30 days.
- Facebook personal account – Minimize personal account and lock everything down. Delete all posts after 1-3 weeks except for a few that are relevant to my public background or profile. Remove all tags to avoid conflict with comments or content changes later.
- Facebook Eckman Guides business page – Use as an extension of LinkedIn for professional posts, updates, and article sharing. Follow the same posting guidelines as LinkedIn.
- YouTube personal account – Get private except for low-risk videos I’m willing to have as public. (animal and dash camera videos)
- YouTube Eckman Guides – Use as an extension of LinkedIn for video content including presentation videos, podcasts, and topical playlists.
- Instagram – Use for professional photography sharing later. Minimize social interaction (likes, shares, comments).
- TikTok (or platform of the moment) – Just say no! Privacy risks are not worth it. This platform is not relevant to my content and purpose.
- Personal/Professional website – Use as primary professional marketing website and archive for support content, guides, presentations, videos, and recommendations.
Advantages of having an expanded social presence
- It’s required if you want to be an influencer – If this is your path, decide on your boundaries ahead of time and manually curate your content as needed.
Advice: Develop a risk mitigation plan in case your posts or content draw negative attention. Delete and apologize is NOT enough of a strategy.
- You need views and likes to qualify for advertising standards – Deleting your history reduces your social influence and ability to hit advertising requirements.
Advice: Define your goal and risk tolerance. Create guidelines for long-term content.
- Reaching a broader audience – You may reach more viewers and followers with a wider net.
Identify your audience who benefits from your core value.
- Additional views – For some content, especially videos and podcasts, the majority of your views could come weeks or months later as more people discover your channel.
Advice: Decide what is core to your message and keep that content until your purpose changes or the content is stale.
Tools to streamline social media management
Trying to manage your content and history manually can be time-consuming and difficult. Fortunately, tools are available to make it a little easier. I’m sure there are others or new ones since this article was written, but hopefully, this will help get you started. Note, I’m not endorsing any of these tools or articles, just saving you search time.
- How to automatically delete your old tweets so it’s harder to find embarrassing stuff you’ve said online
- Delete your Twitter history: How to erase old embarrassing tweets
- You Should Probably Delete All of Your Old Tweets. Here’s How to Do It.
- How To Delete All Your Twitter Likes
- Turn off notifications for routine updates.
- Posts and activity must be manually deleted or changed.
- There are no common tools to automatically or bulk delete messages. I did find a few scripts, but I’m not going to post or use them due to the unknown risk.
- Delete account and uninstall.