Your End-of-Year Digital House Cleaning Bet_Noire on Thinkstock by Getty Images

Your End-of-Year Digital House Cleaning

When is the last time you looked at your LinkedIn profile? And the privacy settings on your Facebook account? What about your password for your favorite online retailer—is it the same one you set up when it launched its website in 2001?

With 2017 around the corner, now’s a good time to look at your digital footprint and provide it with a touch-up—or even a full makeover. Here are a few ways you can update your online presence and keep your look fresh—and more secure—for the new year.

1. Take an inventory of your online accounts. If you’re like me, you have accounts and profiles on more sites and platforms than you can recall. Take a couple of hours and list all of the profiles that you can remember—social media, email, online retailers, blogging platforms, and subscriptions. Skim through your email account for any notifications from ones your might have forgotten. And if you’re not likely to use them again, go through the process of deleting or canceling your accounts. (I’ve gotten a lot of spam recently from friends’ old email accounts that they’ve long left abandoned. This might not cause much harm, but it does mean that they have to respond to emails asking if they were hacked.)

2. Change your passwords. This is simply good practice; changing your passwords frequently helps you protect your information from being compromised. Now that you have that list of accounts from suggestion number one, follow these guidelines to create strong passwords from CNET.

3. Update your social media profiles. In particular, ensure that you have the following key components up to date on your profiles: photo, description, and settings. On LinkedIn—or Xing, or Viadeo, or your local business network—scan through your contacts and ensure that they are all professionals you know and trust. Remove any outdated or inaccurate information. And add any new information or media that you might have. (LinkedIn has enhanced the amount of media you can add to your profile, providing you with many options to share documents, links, video, and images.)

4. Review your privacy settings. In particular, pay extra attention to the privacy settings on your social media accounts. On most platforms—the desktop versions, anyway—you’ll see these in a menu at the upper right-hand corner of the screen. There are often many layers to these settings, which typically address all of the ways users—connections and the “public”—can see your content. This is especially important when your personal and professional activity may overlap. But please note: Any time you reference your employer or your work, those viewing your social media activity are making judgments about you and your company, regardless of whether you’re using a personal account (like Facebook or Instagram) or your professional one.

5. Set a strategy for 2017. What are your personal and professional goals for 2017? How can you use technology—digital marketing, social media, apps—as a tool to help you achieve those goals? Which skills are you going to brush up on to help you maximize these tools? Who are you speaking to on your platforms? How will you measure the success of these efforts? What will you leave behind in 2016?

What other ways can meeting professionals update their digital presence to make better connections, save time, and stay safe? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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