Social media is great. As a millennial, I was raised at a time when everyone had internet and new social media outlets were cropping up every other day. Not only does social media allow for a personal outlet and creativity, but it allows us to connect with friends who live across the country and family that we may not see as often as we’d like.
However, like any big idea, social media comes with its own unique set of pitfalls; for instance, your profile can negatively affect your professional chances at employment or renting if not used properly. And you need to know that even if your account is set to private, there are still ways for employers and landlords to find out what you have been posting! If you have been rejected for an apartment and cannot understand why, check your social media feeds!
As a former college athlete, we were constantly told that we needed to manage our online reputation in order to convey the most positive message possible to the public. Even if you think the jokes or pictures you post are harmless and no one will notice them, people will. It may turn into a worse situation when the people that view them may have a significant effect on your future.
Before you start your apartment (or job) hunt, clean up your online profiles and settings:
Review your photo streams.
Here’s an example: you post a picture of a party in your college apartment. Even if you’re of the legal age when you were drinking, a potential landlord may notice a heap of dirty dishes in the sink or stains on the carpet, leading he/she to view you as an unworthy tenant. Or, even further, depending on the type of apartment community you are looking to move into, the landlord may not want to bring in a tenant who will throw parties in their apartment, specifically if the complex prides itself as being a quiet and relaxing community. Regardless of how long ago these things were posted, they may still come back to haunt you.
Adjust your privacy settings.
If you crave the freedom to post whatever you’d like, whenever you’d like — then make sure your social accounts are all set to the most private security setting. Not only does making your accounts private allow you more posting freedom, but it also will help you be more mindful when accepting followers and interacting with others on social media. This isn’t to say that a landlord will never be able to uncover posts from a private account but it will ensure strangers do not have direct access to your account content.
Pay attention to the email address you are using.
While scouring an applicants social profiles is gaining popularity, there something even more obvious that can play a big role in determining how worthy of a tenant you appear to be. Your email address. Take it from someone who used to use to email address “[email protected]*****.com”, you do not want to apply to anything with an email like that! Whether it be an apartment, a job, or literally anything else that will identify you as the owner of a crazy email name. If you haven’t updated your email address name in a while, here’s a couple quick tips for you: make sure your email includes your first and last name and minimize the number of extra characters (letters or punctuation marks) that are included in your address. Much like good ‘ole snail mail, an address (email or otherwise) is meant to directly identify you, and will make it not only easier for a landlord to contact you, but will make you appear like you have your life together — which, let’s be honest, most of us don’t.
A quick search of your name will give you the top results of what a potential landlord will most likely see when researching your online reputation. And if you come across some content that may not portray you in the best light, don’t freak out. You can clean up your online image and turn it into a tool that can certainly help instead of hurt you.
So, take some time to go through your profiles. Scrub them down so they are still a personal reflection of who you are but also portray you well. Avoid complaining about your boss or others, racist or sexist comments, offensive opinions, and indecent content or pictures. To put it simply — be kind and respectful of yourself and others on social media and you should have no problem getting approved for the rental of your dreams!