Social Media: You, the web and protecting your reputation 

What’s it all about?

Every time you share information or photographs on social media sites like Facebook, or post comments to Twitter or blogs, you are leaving behind a digital footprint. Others may add their own views about you (good or bad), contributing to the image of you that is portrayed online.

Take a look at this guide from the Open University about Developing a good digital footprint

Whilst some social media sites offer privacy settings, information posted to these sites can still be easily shared and often becomes public. Anyone, including potential employers, can find this information and may use it to make judgements about you.

Do you know what is on the Internet about you?

It’s a good idea to regularly review the information available about you online.

Search Engines

Search for your name using a popular search engine, such as Google or Bing. Search for images as well as text. Try different variations of your name, any nicknames or profile names

Social Media Sites

Review what others have posted about you online:
• Check photographs or updates that you’ve been tagged in – make sure you can approve Facebook tags before allowing them on your timeline
• Find out how sites can use your information and images
• Don’t forget about old social media profiles that you no longer use

Remember, any information shared online will probably be searchable and could potentially be seen by anyone. As a general point to keep in mind don’t post anything online you wouldn’t be happy to write on the back of a postcard to your granny!

How can you protect your online reputation?

Consider how your online behaviour will reflect on your reputation. Always be respectful online. 

Read this article from the Southampton University Student Union’s newspaper ‘Wessex Scene’ for advice on your social media presence.

If you find content online that could harm your reputation:

• Send a polite request asking the publisher to remove or correct it
• If that doesn’t work, report the content using the links provided
• If appropriate, post a correction but don’t get involved in an online argument!

Don’t forget about your email address, profile / cover pictures and biography information! Do they give the right impression?

Using social media constructively

Make your online profile an extension of your CV:

  • Use social media to find out more about your subject area or career development opportunities
  • Post updates and images that will create the image that you want others to see
  • Set up a professional profile using LinkedIn
  • Join in conversations related to your area of study or career. Twitter is a popular platform with academics for conversation
  • Start your own blog or social media page to comment on your area of expertise or community interests

See this handy checklist of six tips for making sure your social media presence is employer friendly



Now go to the next page Quiz

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