Every couple of months I make a conscious effort to clean up my online identity to make sure it is a reflection of my true, authentic self. I also use this time to clear out my newsfeeds of information I no longer wish to see. This is important to do because we can get very carried away with what we THINK is important and it can get us off track from our digital goals.
Here is the process I use to ensure that I am making the most of my online identity:
STEP 1: Review my goals.
When I help people establish their online identity, I have them set some goals so they have a clear idea of what they plan to use their Social Media for. Whether it is for marketing, keeping in touch with friends, staying informed, fundraising, or expanding the reach of your digital resume, you need to have a clear goal in mind so that your SM does not go astray.
If you are a teen, this part is crucial. There are so many apps to play with these days. If you want to be able to play around, that is fine, but choose an app that makes sense for that – like Snapchat. Just be sure you understand how it works and still define a clear goal so that you stay within the boundaries of that goal.
You may have more than one goal, which is totally fine. In fact, having multiple goals is probably more realistic. That is why you can use different applications to meet different goals based on what those apps do.
Goals can change. In fact, it is good to evaluate your SM every couple of months in order to determine whether your goals have changed or whether your apps are helping you reach those goals like you had intended. Just as you grow and change in life, so will your online identity. And that’s okay!
STEP 2: Choose the right apps.
Once my goals are clearly defined, I can now choose which applications to use in order to reach those goals. If my goal is to stay in touch with friends and family, Facebook is a good application for that. The features and security make this a great application for sharing videos, pics and events in a semi-private and pretty secure environment.
Perhaps my goal is to expand the reach of my resume and network with people who may be interested in what I have accomplished. I should use LinkedIn in order to reach this goal. LinkedIn allows me to build a detailed profile that includes my accomplishments in the classroom and beyond. I can meet other professionals in my industry and connect with them on this respectable platform.
The point here is to identify which apps make the most sense for me to reach my goals on Social Media. If I am new to the SM world, I could ask friends to help me identify which apps they like and why so I can see what works, what is popular and how they can be of use to me. If I am not new to this, I can evaluate my current apps and decide if I need to expand. Personally, I am adding Snapchat to my repertoire of applications in order to meet my goal of reaching students under 18 with my message about the importance of having a positive and effective online presence. Snapchat is a leading, or shall I say, “trending” application among teens and tweens so it makes sense for me to understand and use this app effectively.
I am not using my Tumblr account as I have not been comfy with the type of content that is allowed on Tumblr, so I have recently closed my Tumblr account. If I find a reason to use it in the future, I can always go back, but right now it does not fit my needs.
Step 3: The Purge
Now that I have decided which applications to use in order to reach my goals, I need to start following people and organizations that will help me reach those goals within that environment. If I am using FB to stay in touch with people, I need to follow those people. If I am using LinkedIn, I need to follow people and businesses within my industry. If I am using Snapchat, I need to connect with teens and tweens that I know so that they are more likely to see my content.
For those who already have an established SM network, it is time to purge. In Facebook, I review my list of pages and groups that I have started following since my last purge or setup. I stop following the pages that no longer serve my goals. I leave groups where I am not a regular contributor. I unfriend people whose content does not align with my SM goals or hide them from my newsfeed.
I do not do this to be rude or because I no longer like those pages and people. I do this because it helps me maintain focus on my current goal and not get lost in the minutia of the internet. That can lead to unnecessary stress and anxiety.
And that’s it! Just taking the time to rid your Social Media of unwanted content can feel like cutting off ten inches of unwanted hair. You will feel lighter and brighter and not so bogged down with the unimportant.