Social Spring Cleaning
It’s that time of year! The flowers are blooming, the sun is shining and yet all of the magazines have feature articles telling you what products you need to use to thoroughly clean every dusty, little corner of your home. There are a zillion suggestions for organizing your clothes, the kids’ toys, the dog’s house and the tools in the garage. Before you grab the scrub brush and gloves, you might want to pick up your computer. One area you should definitely clean up – your social media accounts. Your laptop can go with you out onto the patio, so this task doesn’t require you to miss out on all the lovely, spring sunshine!
Your data and connections, just like those bookcases, need a bit of dusting. Let’s start with your login information. When was the last time you updated your passwords? Several social sites have had security breaches in this past year, including LinkedIn. Take a moment to change your passwords and better protect your accounts. While it is ill-advised by most digital gurus, I do actually keep a file hidden within my computer which lists my passwords, as I do not have the same one for each account (and my memory isn’t that stellar). This is a good first item to cross off on your social spring cleaning list.
I will also suggest that you review your accounts’ security/privacy settings. Social media sites are continually evolving and often release new features. When they do, it’s possible that some settings revert to default. This is more often the case with Facebook. Go through your account and privacy settings and make sure that you understand how the site functions. Refresh your profile data and make sure it reflects you accurately. Coordinate your bio/about me/profile sections so that you are branded across each channel where you are active.
Now it’s time to do a little gardening within your contacts. Follow this 3-step spring cleaning program to improve the health of your networks:
If you don’t actually know the folks you are friends with on Facebook, not sure why you follow some of the Tweeps you do, or cannot find value in your LinkedIn connections, this is a time to unfriend, unfollow and disconnect. Be certain about who you are interacting with on any of the social sites. It is significant to recognize that you and your personal brand are associated with the people in your digital networks. You would not allow unsightly plants grow wild in your manicured garden. Don’t allow inappropriate contacts to influence your network and image. Remove the weeds.
Both Facebook and Twitter offer a list function which is amazingly helpful in organizing your contacts. I have created lists on Facebook around how I know people. So, I have a high school list, one from UCSB and then the places I lived where I met a large number of people. On Twitter, I organize Tweeps by category/profession or topics they tweet about. A fabulous tip for the Twitter lists – you don’t have to follow people to put them on a list. My “News” list, for example is filled with all the major news sources, but I follow less that a handful. I can still reply and retweet with the accounts. Public lists can also be subscribed to, so don’t forget to Tweet out the link of your well-curated lists so that others can see how awesome and organized you are!
Have a look through the “People you may know” section on your social media accounts. Friend, follow and connect with those who will add value to your news feed and your network. Take some time on LinkedIn to endorse your connections for their skills. It’s a nice way to let them know you’ve remembered them and might spark a beneficial reconnection. They will likely return the endorsements and help you build your profile. Tweet to someone you haven’t conversed with in awhile or send a private message to an old friend on Facebook. Social media is designed to help you stay connected to family, friends and professional contacts. Take advantage of these features to allow your garden of networks to bloom.
Lastly, take out your calendar and schedule 30 minutes each month to go through your social media settings. This will allow you to stay on top of new features, keep those weeds at bay and enjoy social networks which are active, vibrant and productive. Now you can pick up that dust cloth and tackle those other cleaning duties. Happy spring cleaning!