We focus so much time on the big and obvious things that we sometimes forget the small but critical things.
For example: Is the email link on your blog still working? Is your LinkedIn profile still listing you at your old job? Does your Twitter account display your new URL?
This is a plea to spend a moment on the little things that slip. I call it the "Stupid List" -- a list of the common errors that we never notice when managing our everyday lives. In the digital era, one broken link could mean a lost opportunity.
In the spirit of tying up loose ends, I have compiled a starter "Stupid List," and I encourage you to add to it in the comments.
1. Your old URLs no longer redirect.
Did your personal website or blog once have a domain name that got changed? If so, chances are you redirected it. However, redirection services vary. Sometimes they automatically expire after a year, or, when a credit card expires. Other times, a server switch or website upgrade can override the redirect settings. Take a minute to double check that all of those old domain names still point to the right place.
2. Your old email addresses aren’t forwarding.
Have you changed an email address lately? Or perhaps your old Hotmail or Yahoo! account has stopped forwarding and you haven't noticed? For unknown reasons, sometimes forwarding simply stops for no reason -- without you even noticing. Other times, an old email account gets hacked and starts spamming your address book without your knowledge. It's worth taking a moment to track down, update, or disable email accounts accordingly.
3. Your bio is outdated around the web.
Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook and all other social media sites have some sort of field for your bio. After just spot-checking sites for three good friends, I found at least one site for each of them that listed an old job, occupation, and in one case an old relationship! Suffice to say, take a moment to make sure your bio is consistent across the web. Even better: schedule a recurring event or task to review and update your bio across the web twice a year. Even for social networks that you visit infrequently, the information in your bio still shows up in search and other unexpected places!
4. You’re missing an important message on a forgotten social network.
The era of "reactionary workflow" has caused many of us to declare communication bankruptcy when it comes to our many online inboxes. However, every now and then, a potential client or long lost friend will send us a message on a long forgotten social site. (For me, ASmallWorld and Friendster, to name a few). Take a moment to log in and quickly skim your messages. Better yet, change your settings to automatically send these messages to an email address and have them placed in a folder and "mark as read" automatically. By doing this, you can just check this folder periodically.
5. Your outdated resume is still visible.
If you're happily employed, you may forget that your resume is still posted on a job site you used a year ago. If you're not employed, you may be represented by an old resume somewhere on the web. It is important to ensure that old resumes are expunged. And, if you keep a live resume updated on your own personal website, take a moment to make sure it is up-to-date (and accurate).
6. Your Facebook privacy settings aren’t effective.
Facebook has generously empowered us to control who sees what. However, in order to manage your online identity, you need to assign new "friends" to the right list. When you accept those friend invitations on the fly, sometimes you forget. If the prospect of distant contacts seeing everything makes you shudder, then take some time to audit those lists. When reviewing all of your friends, Facebook makes it clear what lists they are (or aren't) on.
Your additions to the Stupid List are welcome.
What else should we be sure to check?