Have you ever run into those moments that your mum suddenly brought up a photo of you in front of all your friends, or better complete strangers? Either you were naked in the middle of a huge crowd, or you were wearing the weirdest costume ever made in life? No? How about this? Has any of old photos (I mean really old) being liked by a random stalker on your Facebook and the world started to comment on it again?
Those moments with the parents were annoying, and yet tolerable because the amount of people around in real life would be very low. However social media these days made this moments ridiculously easy to occur, and yet no one seems to care to consider protecting themselves. Rather than screaming about cyber-bullying is bad, we should really learn on maintaining our internet footprints. If you haven’t read the follow news, I would recommend you to read to understand the magnitude of cyber-bullying can be: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/21/mother-facebook-humiliation-4chan_n_5007170.html
Scary, isn’t it? This is why I recommend you to create your own International Footprints Clean-up Day. Fix a day every year to perform an internet footprints clean-up because there will not be any tidal wave to wash them away until you do it yourself.
Step 1 – Let’s Have an Experiment
If you want to experience what the public can see, it works even better to go into incognito mode (Press Ctrl+Shift+N on your keyboard) on Google Chrome.
Simply type in your favourite username and net name that you have been using since you started creating your accounts.
I have managed to find some very interesting blog posts, statuses and tweets online, which I deleted straight away. Oh, that’s right, you have seen one earlier.
Step 2 – Delete or…?
After you have realised your spider-web-liked network in the internet, you need to ask yourself a simple question: Can I pack it up or can I throw it away?
This is just like house cleaning. You always have two options, which are putting the boxes in the attic or throwing the boxes away.
If you choose to throw them away, there are more than enough guides online to show you how to delete your accounts, such as: http://www.wikihow.com/Delete-Yourself-from-the-Internet
If you choose to pack them into boxes, then read the next step.
Step 3 – How to pack your online footprints?
I will talk about the four main things online these days. Similar approaches could apply to whatever you have been using.
Blogs are initially designed as an online diary, hence you can always switch your old blog into “Only Me” mode, which is the quickest and easiest method to hide it.
Facebook has introduced privacy to literally everything single item on it. Don’t know what it means? When they introduced this, they set all your items be able to read by Friends by Friends. Rather than go through all your items one by one, at least Facebook has released a good function:
This will do the trick, unless you have added a lot of people random people (or your mum) onto your Facebook. Then, I would recommend start cutting your ties.
Deactivate your twitter account is easy, but sometimes if you want to keep your username, you can try to follow the following link and delete all your tweets: http://www.ahemahem.com/delete-all-tweets-at-once/1267/
Think of yourself talking inside someone’s house. Only the host, person in charge or the police can kick someone out from the party. Assuming you do not want to go too far with the legal side of things, the only way that you can remove yourself is to ask the admin in the forums nicely to delete you.
If you planning to piss someone off online, you really should start your own IFCD. It is because if you can do step 1 above easily, it is as easy for any of the over 7 billion people in the world do the same thing for that particular user name you use online. Yes, I mean you username_1234.
I hope you learn something today. Please, Protect Yourself.
Remember! Grammar is not my friend. 😦