Perform a Social Media Audit to Protect Your Privacy

Why do you need to audit your social media networks? Simple, you have too many! Too many you have forgotten you even signed up for.  Not only that, but you have given your personal information to multiple outlets you can’t remember. Yep, it is time to weed out the culprits and make decisions about what you really need.

Heroes : M
Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Frederic Poirot via Compfight

Don’t hide, just follow these simple steps.

Steps to Completing a Social Media Audit

1.  Eliminate Unread Newsletters

So you download that freebie, but never opened up the newsletters they have been sending you every week. Unsubscribe. No hurt feelings here, you just weren’t interested. It is time to move on.

2. Search Your Mailbox

I archive most of my mail. This allows me to search for it later and it won’t clutter up my inbox. That means those “confirm” emails  that get sent my way are buried in the archive. Here is how you can find them.

Search “Username”

Search “Login/Log-in”

Search “Password”

Search “Activate”

These common phrases appear in most emails from any services. When you find a new one, add it to a list. Try to capture as many as you can either in a spread sheet or document.

When you complete your list, don’t be overwhelmed. You need to remember that this list is going to be more than Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. You are going to find any tools like Tweetdeck or Buffer that you have signed up with over the years.

4. Delete Some Accounts

Credit CardsAny account storing your address, health records, social security number, credit card, financial information, location, or phone number are prime suspects for deletion.

You don’t need more of your personal info floating around out there.

If you signed up a long time ago, then you may not remember what information you gave the service access to. Think of it less as a branding issue and more about privacy.
 
Photo Credit: Andres Rueda via Compfight

5. No Delete Option

Make sure you do a site search first. Sometimes the delete option is not highlighted anywhere. You might have to scrounge through a FAQ or Customer Support. A good last resort is to send an email via the contact us form. If they have your username and email they should remove it.

If you get no response here the next best steps:

Erase as much info as you can

For fields that require info replace your information with Delete

Remove your picture and other identifying information

6. Check Permissions on Your Active Accounts

As we all know service agreements can be changed at any moment. Remember the copyright issues with Pinterest, they just changed their user policy to deal with it. It is a good idea to check your privacy options and any permissions you have given.

7. Update Your Bio Information

and its sad to watch the sky bleed.Bios can get stale. Add new accomplishments or employment when you do your audit. Keep things fresh. Add a new picture, show that you are a real person, not jut an avatar. You change over time and so should your profiles.

 

Photo Credit: Mike Bailey-Gates via Compfight

 

8. Change Your Passwords

I use Keepass, and I recommend it highly. It stores a database of my passwords for as many sites as I  like. It creates them on the fly, and comes with a pretty high encryption. As you can see I take privacy pretty seriously.Change your passwords every few months.

The more often you perform a social media audit, the easier it becomes. You may want to start keeping track now of new services you sign up for. Keepass helps me with that because I create a new entry for each new service.

Every time you do an audit change your passwords as well for extra security.

Benefits of a Social Media Audit

  • Security
  • Protection Against Identify Theft
  • Eliminating Noise from Social Networks
  • Cleaning Your Inbox
  • Updating Stale Profiles

 What other reasons can you give?

 

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Article written by

PG

Susan Silver is celebrating her third year as a contract copywriter. She has written for several online publications on the topics of social media, marketing, and pop-culture. She is a weekly contributor to the popular website 12most.com.

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