As the new year is approaching, it's a good time to start cleaning up your social media accounts. Especially for young medical students, resident physicians, and fellows who have most likely had social media since a young age.‌ If you've had a social media account for many years, there's a good chance you've posted something that you now found embarrassing or perhaps regret.

What exactly does it mean to clean up your social media? It means to go through your twitter feed and read through old tweets to make sure that they are appropriate in nature, or to check through your uploaded Facebook pictures and posts. There are always news stories talking about how a professional athlete or celebrity has social media posts that have come to light and paint the person in a bad way. Even though you probably won't go viral for a post from a long time ago, it is not a bad idea to go through and clean up any posts that may be taken the wrong way or could land you into trouble. You can also untag yourself from photos or posts that you think could be problematic for a future employer.

Why should you do this? As humans, we evolve and mature year after year, so you want to make sure that your social media reflects that. This can help prevent you from finding an opportunity you really like but end up getting disqualified from because of your social media. If you have a plethora of risky tweets or opinionated Facebook posts, these can rub a potential employer the wrong way. You may also be tagged in posts or pictures that can put you at risk. Having pictures of you drinking underage or using illicit substances can disqualify you from some organizations, so removing those from the internet is a great idea.

As you are cleaning up your social media, you should also check out your privacy settings on your different social media accounts. There are constantly security updates, but when is the last time you've actually gone into your privacy settings? Check who has access to your posts, who can tag you in posts and pictures, and if those tagged posts and pictures automatically show on your feed or if you need to approve it before it shows on your account. Also check for new privacy settings that can help protect your private social media accounts. If you are unsure of what updates may have been made since the last time you've updated your privacy settings, run a quick google search or check your notices. Many websites will put "new" or some sort of icon to indicate that it has been added to the settings. By doing this now, it will prevent you from later having patients or other staff members being able to see your private posts without your approval.

Going through your social media accounts at least once a year, can save you a headache later in your career. Simply go through and delete these posts now to avoid having someone at a potential employer see it later and use it against you in the hiring process. Looking for more social media tips? Check out the PracticeMatch Physician Articles!

Hayley Woszczynski

Hayley Woszczynski - Physician & Program Relations Manager. You can stay connected with me on LinkedIn for all of the latest PracticeMatch articles and upcoming events.