Problem Resolution

How do I clean up a mistake made online?

5 Steps to cleaning up all your social media accounts

1. Review your profile information on all of your social media accounts. Remove anything that might reflect negatively on you in the eyes of future employers and college admission officers. View the information from the perspective of a potential employer or college admissions officer. Information shared in a social media profile can create an impression of you that you don't want others to have.

2. Re-examine all the pages that you have "liked" and remove them from those that might reflect negatively. For example, if you "liked" a page that reflects values or beliefs that are discriminatory in any way, such as being sexist, racist, homophobic - someone looking at that might view them as having that same inclination. Pages that are "liked" on social media sites send a message, a message that is almost as clear as the content you actually create.

3. Take a look at all other pages associated with your account and remove those associations that reflect negatively or have the potential to give improper perceptions. Careful examination of any additional pages that have been created is a must. Make sure that none of those reflect values that give visitors to your page the wrong impression.

4. Review all photos and videos. Delete those that might be misunderstood or viewed in a negative manner. For example, many people post pictures of themselves having fun at a party or at the beach. If in one of the photos or videos you are acting foolishly or holding an alcohol product, a potential employer or college admissions officer might get the wrong impression. You'll also need to contact family members and friends who have tagged you in inappropriate photos.

5. Review your timeline from the start and remove any posts that can be misunderstood or viewed in a negative manner. It is important to do so with a critical eye. The things you share are not only seen by friends, once posted, posts can be reposted, retweeted, reshared with others you don't know. A comment made 2 years ago might come back to haunt you with a college admissions officer or employer.

With these five steps, you and can begin the process of sanitizing your many social media accounts, and in turn begin the process of repairing your online reputations. Indiscretions do not have to negatively impact your future.