Some people know it their whole lives. Others only realize it later in life, after they have become adults. I’m talking about the decision to run for office, and if you are successful, to serve the public. It can be an exceedingly difficult decision, and one that certainly has huge ramifications on your life. One of the biggest reasons many ultimately choose not to seek higher office is because they are afraid of the impact that it will have on their lives, and particularly that all of their secrets and previous bad ideas will become public. In an era of social media, that’s become more and more likely.
So, what to do? How can you, to some extent, protect yourself against the sins of your past? The honest answer is a lot of work, and a good, old fashioned social media audit. With it, you can check your Facebook profile and remove things you don’t want others to see. Here’s a step by step guide for how to clean your profile.
1) Activity Log: Click on the down arrow in the upper right corner, then click on activity log. This will bring up every action you have taken on Facebook – ever – including every comment, like, group you joined and more. This is your best friend. With this, you can unlike, untag, change privacy settings and more for every action you’ve taken. You’ll need to study this pretty closely, and yes, things you have liked (even comments!) are important. In the past primary, a candidate in Southeast Pennsylvania was attacked as being anti-education on the basis of a post he liked.
2) Pictures: Pictures you are tagged in can get you – just ask Stewart Mills, Republican candidate for Congress in Minnesota, who was photographed licking the lips of someone who was most decidedly not his wife (among other incriminating pictures). Those pictures were found on Facebook. Anyway, review every photograph you are tagged in and make sure you untag yourself or ask the person who uploaded the photo to take the picture down (this is a much safer option).
3) About Me: Review your profile by click on the “about” tab within your profile. Unlike any interest, group or more that could be offensive. These could be from a while ago – I know plenty of people who, in their college days, liked “Gettin CrUnKeD!!!!” and then lived to regret it.
Now, you may be thinking, “Wow, this looks very time consuming!” You are right. It is. It’s also worth it, because trust me when I say that, if you run for public office, your life is put under a microscope like never before, and this includes your Facebook profile.
What do you think – did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments!