If you want to become a lawyer, read this article detailing a certain BigLaw firm’s very strict social media policy. The entire policy is there, too, if you have time to look through the whole thing. There’s nothing so ridiculous it’s funny; it’s just very strict throughout.
Now consider this: that’s the world you’re trying to enter. Whether you like it or not, you stand a better chance of success if you’re willing to play by its rules. Social media can bite you in the you-know-what. It’s your job to make sure it doesn’t.
It’s 2014. Law schools and law firms know what the internet is, even if they may have been slow to get with the program. They know that they may be able to find embarrassing pictures of you online. It won’t reflect well on you if they do. Don’t let them.
Go through all of your online profiles: Facebook, Twitter, Google+ (ha!), etc., and search carefully for anything that might make you look bad: drunken photos, angry rants, you get the idea. When in doubt, delete or un-tag. If you’ve posted anything that might be the least bit objectionable on online forums, make sure your username keeps you anonymous.
You may say, “But it’s restricted so that only my friends can see it!” There are a few problems with that. First, are you sure? I lost the ability to keep track of Facebook’s myriad changes to its privacy policies. Second, do you know who your “friends” are? If anyone can see it, there’s a good chance the wrong people can see it. If you have to move you and your friends’ recapitulation of Saturday night (I’m sure it was epic) offline, so be it. It’s a price worth paying.
Google yourself. That may seem like a narcissistic thing to do, but law schools and law firms will do it, so you should, too. Try various combinations of search terms that might narrow the search down to you, as opposed to the other people who share your name. Anyone researching you will be smart enough to do that, so search your name in combination with your school, your employer, any clubs you’re associated with, and so on. If anything bad comes up, do your absolute best to get it taken down.