How to Clean Up Your Social Media Before College

We are in the age of social media. The world is more connected and less private than ever before thanks to the countless social media platforms out there. Millennials have been warned about keeping their social media accounts “clean” for years now. How does one keep a “clean” profile, though? Here are some tips on how to complete this challenge:

1) Watch your language
It’s definitely a no-brainer to watch your language on your accounts. If you aren’t on private then you never know who could be scrolling through your pages, so stray away from any foul or offensive language. Profanity––from racism, to sexism, to homophobia, to explicit language––that you may think is a joke can cause viewers to build a negative image of you that isn’t true.

This kind of language can harm your reputation even if you are a great individual. You can be an honor student with a golden heart, but for those who don’t know you personally, all they are gathering as an impression for you is what they see on your pages. By using profanity, you can appear immature, unpolished and unprofessional.

2) Don’t post anything about drug or alcohol use
Don’t. Ever. Do. It. Posting about alcohol or drug use is absolutely never a good idea. There is obviously a lot of temptation that comes with the rowdy college lifestyle; however, no matter how tempting it may be to post something cool, fun, and wild for all your friends to see, the consequences will be much more hefty later.

In this digital era, you are your own marketing. When you share your alcohol and drug usage online, you are harming your image and your brand. By posting photos of you plastered, you are creating a negative image of yourself and the damage is much worse if you are underage. You will most likely regret posting it down the road.

Many high schoolers may not think their online image is something to be too worried about, but they should think again. Although they may not see it as a big deal, employers and colleges do. Posting such content can prevent you from getting into your dream college and/or your dream job.

3) Clean up your friends and followers lists
In high school, it was super cool to have a huge friends/followers list on your social media accounts. However, this will not help you much in the post-high school world. It will actually become an annoyance to you if anything.

Social media is a powerful tool when it comes to both school and work, so you should monitor who you are connecting with at all times. By maintaining relationships and connections, you may be able to open doors and create amazing opportunities for yourself and others. However, when you have too many friends, your network may get oversaturated and make creating networks more difficult.

4) Make sure that your photos are creating a positive image
We know how tempting it can be to post anything and everything on social media. When you’re in an argument with a friend and want to post an embarrassing photo of them or you want to make you ex jealous with a scandalous photo, it can be hard to hold back. However, a piece of advice to always keep in mind is to make sure every image you post represents something good about you!

Millennials should really try to shy away from posting anything that has to do with partying, drinking, drug usage, nudity, profanity, and excess negativity. Posting any content of that nature can create a negative reflection of you and can harm you chances of getting into certain colleges, internships and jobs.

A good rule to live by is that if you have to contemplate posting it, you probably shouldn’t. While we have all done and taken pictures of some questionable things in life, posting such things on your Facebook or Instagram is potentially harmful to your future.

Just remember the two P’s: professionalism and positivity. Employers and colleges are very particular about who they recruit and associate with them. At the end of the day, it is simply not worth tainting your image on social media.

We are the digital generation, so our knowledge and use of social media is ever-changing. However, there are definitely steps to shape your online profiles in a way that will benefit you. Before college, clean up those pages––it is never too early to plan for your future!