As sad as it is, one look at Clementine Ford’s Facebook page will show you it’s not uncommon to receive an abusive tirade from someone on social media. It’s important to remember that the Internet is NOT private and what you do on there has the possibility to cause major problems in our real world life. That’s what one of Clementine’s abusers forgot when he left explicit comments on her public Facebook account, eventually resulting in him being fired from his job.

Your friends aren’t the only ones viewing your online activity; future employers usually do a sweep of social media when reviewing applicants. So if you want to nab that dream job, you might need to change your ways. If you have a problem with this, take it up with Mark Zuckerberg.

We’ve compiled a list of how you can detox your social media accounts to keep your long list of friends AND your paying job.

1. Keep your photos clean

Don’t post explicit or embarrassing photos of yourself. If you went to a party and got extremely drunk, keep it to yourself. If there’s no photographic evidence, you can’t get in trouble for it.

If, however, one of your “friends” takes a photo of you in that state, posts it and refuses to remove it you might run into trouble. Make sure you update your settings on Facebook to ensure all tags must be accepted before they’re published on your page. This is a must-have if your friends get a thrill out of your embarrassment.

Also, not everyone can be #instafamous or an #instamodel. Try to limit those bikini “model” shots, especially if your account is public. If your name is associated with a well-known product or brand, then posting those photos under that name could be damaging to the company and your reputation. So think before you post because no filter can cover up that mistake.

2. Don’t be filmed doing something silly, ever

You already know our stance on photos. Videos have even more opportunity to cause damage because of the audio-visual element. You might be lucky enough to explain away a photo but if you have no idea how you speak to/about people when you’re drunk, maybe it’s time to rethink your social situation and lay low without alcohol for a few weeks… or years.

3. If you can’t say something nice…

Despite your personal privacy settings, posting on a friend’s wall isn’t always private; all of their friends might be able to see what you write. Yes, this does go for funny birthday messages with a few cuss words and humiliating phrases. If the wrong person sees it and takes it badly, you can get in trouble. It’s a small world, after all, and with six degrees of separation someone on your mate’s friend list might be chummy with your boss.

So before you post that super funny status or message, reread it carefully through the eyes of your boss. What would they think? Could this get you fired if you said it to your boss? If the answer is yes, think twice before posting.

4. Don’t be a twit

Ah, Twitter. This invention was a godsend but one little tweet could quickly unravel a lifetime of work. Even if you think you are fully justified in tweeting that hate message to James Blunt, he’s not the only person who can see it. And there’s always the ability to screenshot something even after you’ve had a change of heart and deleted it. Many celebrities (including Blunt) are fond of replying to their hate mail and putting the tweeter in check.

Try to use the platform in a positive way by tweeting your favourite celebrity your support rather than trying to tear someone down.

5. It’s (not always) too late to apologise

If you’ve been caught behaving badly on social media, a simple apology may not fix it because boy can people hold a grudge. If/when you do have to apologise, make it sincere and don’t try to undercut it with excuses. Avoid repercussions from your virtual life by monitoring everything you do and sifting through it with a fine-toothed comb. Or you could always just be a better person in general.

6. If in Doubt, Just don’t

If you want to avoid awkward conversations with your boss or feel like you’re always adjusting your privacy settings to make sure someone somewhere doesn’t see something at some point, just don’t do it.

Shake off that toxic social media vibe. Delete your Facebook account, or start a whole new Instagram with a new handle and only accept accounts you know and trust. Even these simple steps could do you (and your career) some good.

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