Spring has sprung – time for digital spring cleaning!

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Spring is finally here, and between the bomb cyclones and lightning storms, it’s safe to say we’re all probably ready for summer. Now that it’s springtime, people are Marie Kondo-ing their closets or garages, but it’s equally important to do a “digital” spring cleaning of things that may or may not “spark joy” on your computer.

Like other aspects of life, your digital life can become cluttered with things you don’t need anymore. Digital spring cleaning can help keep your devices and information safe and secure year round. Not only that, but it can also help improve the performance and speed of your devices.

Here are a few tips to help you accomplish a digital deep clean:

1. Comb through your online accounts.

  • These obviously include social media, but also banks, streaming services, basically anything you have to log in to.
  • Delete any accounts you no longer use so your information isn’t sitting around in a dormant account.
  • Remove information from any of your accounts that isn’t needed anymore (i.e. saved credit cards
  • Update your devices.

2. Update the apps and software across all your devices to ensure you’re using the latest and greatest version.

  • This is also a good time to delete any and all unused apps from your devices – we all have them!

3. Review your web browser(s).

  • Delete old data (cookies, caches, etc.) that can negatively affect user experience. Saved passwords and old autofill information take up space, and you also run the risk of your personal information being compromised.

4. Say goodbye to old digital files.

  • Clean out old emails, documents, files, photos, text messages, and downloads. Don’t forget to empty the trash when you’re done!
  • Only save emails you really need and unsubscribe from newsletters, mailing lists, etc. you no longer need/want to receive.
  • Once you’ve decided which emails to save, I recommend organizing them. I like to organize emails with colorful tabs in Gmail (example below).

Each client has their own color and folder, that way I can access the emails more efficiently, rather than combing through an inbox with 1,000+ unlabeled, read emails.

5. Secure your login.

  • Make sure you have some sort of password, passcode, fingerprint, and/or facial recognition to log into any and all of your devices.
  • Use multi-factor authentication (a.k.a. two-step verification or two-factor authentication) when available. This adds an extra layer of protection you’ll be thankful for later!
  • Revisit and reconsider your passwords. Are they all unique? Do they contain enough characters? Change any that don’t fit the bill. Just make sure blink-182 isn’t part of it…
  • Use a unique password for each of your accounts. I know it’s tedious, but as someone who was recently hacked, I felt at ease knowing I had unique passwords for Facebook, Instagram, my email, etc.

6. Refresh your online presence.

  • Review and update your social media profiles. It’s a new season, add some recent photos! I’m sure your friends and followers will love to see what you’ve been up to. It’s also important to have up-to-date information across all of your digital platforms, you don’t want your “current employer” to be your job from high school.
  • Review and update your privacy and security settings on all of the social, and non-social, sites you use. Make sure your settings are at the level you’d like to have your content shared (public, friends, private, etc.)
  • Delete old photos, tweets, statuses, etc. that are either a) embarrassing, b) no longer express your values and who you are, c) didn’t age well, or d) all of the above. This is probably my favorite step of the digital deep clean. Facebook now has a lovely feature called “Memories” where they share your posts from the past on any certain day. I like to take that time to delete old embarrassing Facebook statuses or photos. If you’re trying to transition into the workforce, it’s also crucial to do a deep dive into your social media accounts and analyze posts you should get rid of, your sharing settings, or if you should just put everything on private altogether (most of the time it’s the latter, better to be safe than sorry!)
  • Review your friends, who you follow, and your followers on social networks, as well as the contacts in your phone…Does everyone still need to be there?
  • Review (and manage!) your location services, Check your settings to see when and how your location services are being used across your devices. Same goes for your camera and microphone settings.

7. Back up your files.

  • Do a complete backup of important files. I used to be able to store everything on my laptop, but now I use iCloud and Google Drive, both are life savers! Now I don’t have to worry about losing files and photos. If you don’t want to use “the cloud,” you can copy your data onto another computer or external hard drive.

Hopefully you can take at least one of these tidbits and apply it to your own digital spring cleaning! I’ve already deleted hundreds of emails, gone through my contacts and who I follow and changed some of my passwords (whew!) Which reminds me, I still need to upload some recent photos to my Facebook, I’m sure my grandma has been wondering what I’ve been up to…

For any other digital media help, feel free to contact us.