Information & opportunities for young people in Scotland

Creating a Positive Online Presence in Lifestyle

Social media expert Kieran Smyth shares his advice on creating a positive online presence.

Social media has become an integral part of our day-to-day lives. We post if we are happy, sad or even annoyed. Even our evening meal can become a topic of conversation amongst our online connections.

As a generation we tend to put our whole lives out there for the world to see.

Come on, admit it - we’ve all posted that awful selfie or the angry status update, not to mention the albums full of holiday pics and time spent messing about with our mates. 

But what becomes of all these images and tweets? 

They become your digital footprint.

What's a digital footprint and why does it matter? 

Simply put, your digital footprint is a trail you leave behind on the internet.

If you Google-d your name, what would you find? If there’s no trace of you, or if what you find is good, then this means you have created a positive online presence. 

On the flip side, if you Google your name and you cringe at the results then this means you may have created a negative online presence.

You may ask the question ‘so what?’ - but have you ever considered what your digital footprint says about you? What would a stranger think if they saw your updates? Imagine if that stranger was a potential employer.

These days employers want to know who they have hired and many recruiters check the social media of potential employees.

Yep, there is a chance that your new boss might turn you down because they don’t think that you are a good fit with their company due to how you are portrayed on social media - and it could all come down to one picture.

Kate McKendrick, Recruitment Manager from Hutchison 3G, tells us:

“Before I invite someone for an interview I always make sure to check LinkedIn and Facebook to make sure that the applicant is being truthful and that when they are online they paint themselves in a good light. It is always disappointing when you think you have found an ideal applicant and then their online presence says something completely different about them.
If I do find negative posts online I will make sure to question them about it during the interview process, but on a couple of occasions they have been so bad that I have decided not to interview."

Top 5 Tips & Tricks

1. Google yourself

It may sound vain but on this occasion you’re excused - you need to know what people see when they look for you.

2. If you ain’t using it – delete it

Find all of your old profiles and any unused accounts that you no longer use and delete them.

3. Remember, there’s more than one page on Google

Make sure to look through as much of Google as you can in case you miss anything

4. Spring clean your history

It will take time but go through your Twitter/Instagram/Facebook and check every post and delete any that paint you in a bad light.

5. Get rid of the evidence

Take down any pictures which make you look bad and ask friends to do the same.

Now what?

Think about what you are posting

You have spent all that time cleaning up your digital footprint. Don’t undo all that good work by slipping into old habits and be careful with the content you share.

Go into lock-down

Make sure to tighten up your security settings on platforms like Facebook so that only friends can see you.

Be careful hitting the add button

We all love a new Facebook friend or Twitter follower but be careful. Sometimes it isn’t wise to add colleagues or lecturers on social media. It’s always a good idea to keep your private life, private.

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Create great content

Do things that make you look good and make it a part of your digital footprint. If your boss goes on Facebook, let them find an album of pictures of you volunteering in the community. If you don’t already use it – LinkedIn is a great way to showcase all the great stuff you do and can act like an online CV.

Be noticed

Get involved in community activities and get your name mentioned by local newspapers and organisations. It makes you look active, engaged, and more employable online.

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