Social media purging: personality vs. protecting your reputation

Social media has undoubtedly become rooted at the centre of our everyday lives. Whether we log on to read the latest news, use it to speak to friends and family, or even to connect for business, the influence of social media is ever-growing with 3.6 billion users currently active. Furthermore, the ubiquity of social media apps is showing no signs of slowing down with predictions that the number of users will rise to 4.41 billion in 2025.  

Given the restrictions brought about by the pandemic, social media usage in the UK also increased with users spending an average daily time of an hour and forty-nine minutes per day using social media which demonstrates the place of importance it has in our day to day lives. 

 Social media has enabled celebrities, influencers, and everyday users to reach a global audience with ease however this access can have its downsides, with social media behaviour and interactions being scrutinised more closely than ever. Cancel culture –  “cancelling people due to offensive or problematic remarks” – is on the rise and regardless of how you may be perceived in the present, there is always a threat that a previous comment or post can catch you out. For the A-Z list of celebrities, business owners and influencers among us, this poses a very real threat. 

Numerous public figures have discovered the repercussions of making ill-judged comments. Most recently, Chrissy Teigen was criticised online for her comments on cancel culture following the exposure of several historic cyber-bullying tweets. Following the controversy, Teigen’s endorsements and partnerships with companies such as Bloomingdales were lost, and it also led to the TV personality walking away from her role on Netflix show Never Have I Ever. 

The high-profile apologies of many individuals such as Teigen have led a number of users to consider social media purging and how that could help protect their reputations. However, the idea of social media purging does not exclusively belong to those with fame. Ordinary individuals face the same threat. Employers now use LinkedIn as a method of finding talent and hiring managers most certainly will look through public profiles online as part of their hiring process.  

It could be argued that privatising your account would remove such obstacles, however, such a step is not quite as straightforward as it may appear. Having a private profile does not necessarily mean that your personal life and personal social media channels can be kept entirely separate from your professional domain. Someone you are connected to or one of your followers may not have the same privacy settings, thereby giving hiring managers and other interested parties access to the pictures and posts that you wanted to keep confidential. 

Whilst posting the wrong thing can be detrimental, equally, purging your account completely and leaving a blank canvas in its place can be just as damaging. If you own a business and are taking introductory steps into building your network or likewise if you are building your Instagram page to become a social media influencer, your personality will be your brand. People need to see personality traits that they can relate to and have an interest in your posts where they feel they know you.  

Being proactive in building positive social profiles will prove fruitful, it could be the slight difference in helping you to be a successful applicant for that job or attaining that paid sponsorship deal you had hoped to achieve, it could be the very reason that propels you in achieving what you set out to seek.  

So how do we maintain a positive social media presence? 

Occasionally logging out of your accounts and doing an online search of your name or business will enable you to essentially see what others would, always be sure to put notifications on your Facebook and Instagram so you are the first to know when you’ve been tagged in a post. This way, you can choose to accept or reject the tag depending on whether it aligns with your online brand. 

Benjamin Franklin once said, “it takes many good deeds to build a good reputation and only one bad one to lose it”. In today’s digital age, this statement rings truer than ever before. Word spreads faster, screenshots take 0.5 seconds and content can go viral in a matter of minutes. Whether you are a celebrity, business owner, or simply looking to build a positive online presence, your focus should be on taking practical steps in protecting your reputation from the offset, rather than desperately trying to re-build and transform it into a world stage. 

If you are interested in having a bespoke reputation management plan to help solidify your social media presence, our leading experts can help, get in touch today. 

Get in touch with the team