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Giving Up the Ghost

Image via The Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze

Image via The Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze

Trick or treat. Tis the season for ghouls, goblins and Gobstoppers, and while we all have a few skeletons in our virtual closets, the truth is that in the face of the immortal Internet, the best defense is a good offense; here are a few ways to keep the digital ghosts at bay:

Ditch the Witch – Dig back through time and discard any unused accounts. Friendster can be a pretty freaky place in the Facebook era and chances are your interests circa 2003 won’t stand the test of time in 2013. Take the time to recover the password and deactivate your account. Don’t overlook the online shopping either. That prank present from 2007 may be long gone but your personal information isn’t – even if your address has changed.

Creepy Crawlers – Let’s face facts, search engines are a necessary evil. Since we’re pretty sure you’ve Googled yourself before, consider setting up an alert to monitor the web for you. Trigger the alerts to email you whenever your name is referenced online. If your parents named you John Doe, this could be a challenge; however, there are new tools that make it easy to bury those inappropriate photos leftover from college without implementing any hocus pocus.

Re-Animator - They say necessity is the mother of all invention so consider the benefits of rebranding. Take stock of your existing brand to determine where to make improvements. This could mean updating your profile picture on LinkedIn, changing your Twitter handle, or launching a new site. A few strategic changes and a fresh coat of paint can work to sweep the digital dirt under the proverbial rug and boost your image.

While you don’t need a mask to escape your past online, the reality is that you can run but you can’t hide so beware the digital ghosts. Stay alert, stay aware and save the scary stories for Halloween.