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Journey of a DPT Student

Cleaning Up Social Media

Published January 7, 2013 10:12 AM by Lauren Rosso

With my professional life quickly approaching, I decided tonight that it's about time to go through my Facebook account and clean it up. We've heard about the dangers and pitfalls of social media since the onset of the program, but it honestly didn't bother me before. I don't have anything too incriminating on my page, and I've done a decent job at keeping most of my photos private (at least since I realized that was an option). I really thought everything was alright until I looked at my profile closely, at which point I realized I had some work to do.

I don't know how much truth there is in the warning that employers scan Facebook prior to offering a potential employee a job, but I'd rather not take my chances. Even if my profile is private, I didn't want to risk the chance of pictures from my sophomore year of college popping up somewhere unexpectedly. So that was step one. I put on my "professional" hat and eliminated as many questionable pictures from the public eye as possible. It broke my heart to get rid of some, but I have to be honest with myself -- Halloween photos from 2006 are no longer relevant.

Step two was to really take a look at my list of "friends" to recognize who had access to my information. I never realized that more than 1,000 people were linked to my profile, over half of whom I didn't recognize at first glance. So I'm currently in the process of de-friending the majority of acquaintances from over the years, and making sure the rest have limited access. I figure that the smaller I can make my social web, the better. I'll do just about anything to ensure that I get a job when this journey comes to an end!



  I have found your blog to be a great source for many things I have found myself wondering as I have been going through my first year of PT school. This post was something that has particularly interested me. My undergrad program stressed this topic to us in our senior year. There are websites that have software that you can download to see how professional your facebook and twitter accounts are. My undergrad had this type of software. It would go through every post and picture that you were linked to and commented on. About two days after you allowed the software to access your accounts, it would provide you with a grade and descriptive details about what you can do to change the grade of your profiles. I highly recommend that you find one of these pieces of software. Additionally, now as facebook has grown there are even more privacy settings you can use. Hope this helps!

Caleb SPT March 9, 2014 8:59 PM
Greenville NC

I have been thinking about cleaning up my online profile a lot lately since my time in PT school is coming to an end. I am a big believer in looking as professional as possible in every aspect to potential employers and believe me they are looking at your online profiles.   I am personally not a big Facebook user. I hardly ever go online and post anything and I have never uploaded pictures onto my page.  However, my friends and family have tagged me in lots of photos.  Most are harmless but a couple could be viewed in not the best light and may not give the best impression of my true nature or personality.  I feel that I, like a lot of my fellow classmates, will be going through my Facebook pages and removing anything that may not be viewed well by potential employers.  I also will be removing "friends" that I haven't seen or talked to in a while. I think of this like spring cleaning for my professional life:)

Erin March 26, 2013 10:34 AM

I'm glad that you wrote this. I really don't have a ton of bad pictures of myself on facebook; but I took the few that were questionable off. It never hurts to be safe. My question is, do I untag myself in photos, or do I ask those who posted the photos to remove the pictures? I don't think that the people that posted the photos would understand why I wanted them to take the photos down.

I do have a lot of people that I don't know. It would be wise to unfriend many of these people. They don't need to know what I'm doing!

Jessie January 19, 2013 11:16 AM
Greenville NC

Dean- good tip about changing my name.  I still have some work to do on cleaning up the profile, but I'm getting there.  And Katy- I don't know whether to be scared or to feel informed!  I'm not going to lie- I just searched my name on Google.

Lauren Rosso January 8, 2013 9:34 PM

Most of my teacher friends have used alternative names on social media (first name and middle name, first name and dog's name, or pet's name and first name) for exactly this reason. In this way, they don't appear in a search for their name.

The problem lies not only with what you post yourself, but what photos from high school, college, spring break, etc. that your 'friends' tag you in.

Dean Metz January 8, 2013 4:48 PM

this is actually a big deal! I've had students applying for jobs requiring security clearance who've been asked questions about their profiles during job interviews. Tricia has mentioned that her company has done brief google searches of potential employees, but some companies do in-depth internet scrubs. I think it's smart to tidy up your shop!

Katy January 8, 2013 4:10 PM
Pittsburgh PA

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