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Delmar: A Facebook feature that’s a blessing from PR gods

Social media platforms continue to pose interesting challenges for public relations professionals. While we’d like to remind you that everything you post (or even type into any device) should be considered public information regardless of privacy settings, there’s nothing wrong with a good social media cleanup every so often…

One new Facebook feature should make life a bit easier on PR people is “On This Day” (more from CNET). Meant to encourage more sharing and to perpetuate the #TBT phenomenon (‘Throwback Thursday’ posts so far number about 325 million on Facebook’s Instagram!), On This Day has a hidden benefit.

It allows you to look back on timeline (formally called “wall”) posts from past years starting from the current day of the year. If you’re an emerging entrepreneur or public figure and you know that there’s some questionable stuff on Facebook from previous years, take a few seconds every day when you’re on the platform to skim through the feature (you can also see which friends you’ve added, and sometimes a friend list cleanup is necessary too). Don’t be shy to delete past posts that you wouldn’t approve of today, but do of course be conscious of the fact that someone may have still taken a screenshot or otherwise noted your potentially inappropriate over-share.

Though it would be irresponsible to suggest that you’ll get a pass if the inappropriate post is too far in the past, most of your trolls, enemies or even frenemies won’t make the effort to scroll through years of past posts to catch you in anything, if your past posts are even “public.” I use public in quotation marks because I’ve found Facebook’s privacy settings to be unreliable and confusing at best — I would guess that most Facebook users don’t have a complete picture of what past activity and content is public and what is not. It’s just safer to assume that everything is public and take the necessary precautions if your brand(s) can be scrutinized.

And it’s just fun to look back on your own personal history as chronicled by Facebook. Four years ago today, I asked my friends whether or not I should snack on Swedish berries or real raspberries (I ate both). Two years ago today, I gave up much of my radio work and hired myself full-time at Provocateur. Thanks for the reminder, Facebook! I made the right decision. I prefer spending most of my time sharing (and sometimes deleting) the content of others who are better at being in the public eye than I will ever be.

– Delmar | delmar@provocateur.media

Dan Delmar is the managing partner of Provocateur Communications, a host/commentator with CJAD 800 Montreal and contributor with The National Post.

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