3 Ways to Spring Clean Your Virtual Life

Learn how to clean up your computer and online identity with our tips. Tips for organizing your files and cleaning up your social media accounts.
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Learn how to clean up your computer and online identity with our tips. Tips for organizing your files and cleaning up your social media accounts.

Well, ladies, March is almost over, and spring is finally upon us, and not only does that mean we’re one step closer to summer but that also means it’s time for some spring cleaning.

Now you’re probably thinking, "Spring cleaning? What is this girl going to tell me about spring cleaning? I know how to clean out my closet and throw away papers and get rid of old papers!" And you’re right, you know how to handle spring cleaning, in the real world.

But today I’m going to be talking about a different type of spring cleaning, one that may just be more important than the kind of cleaning you do in your apartment. I’m going to tell you how to spring clean your virtual life.

1. Clean up your online identity... again.

Back in January, when I did a post on New Year’s resolutions for the college girl, I wrote about how, as products of the social media generation, we need to be careful about what we post on the internet. I reminded you to make your Facebooks private, to lock you tweets, and to Google yourself.

And now, two months later, I’m asking you to Google yourself all over again, and see if your results have changed. Also, Facebook is always making changes to their privacy settings, so go back and make sure everything is still the way you want it, that your photos are still private, that you don’t show up in searches, and that your statuses don’t show up on that website that lets people search public statuses. The internet is ever-changing, and we are constantly updating, so remember that cleaning up on your online identity is an ongoing process.

2. Organize your computer files.

I’m a bit of an organizational freak, so I have all of my files placed in folders, placed in folders, placed in folders, placed in more folders. And then organized by date. And while you don’t have to go that far, it doesn’t hurt to make it a little bit easier to find that history paper your wrote last semester.

So here’s my suggestion for keeping your computer files organized: Create a folder for each of the different aspects of your life. One for what you write for work, one for fun, and one for school. Then, in the school folder, create a folder for each of your college years, then within that folder, create one for each semester, then for each class.

If you want to go even further, save each file under a name that has both a date and a name, so that all your files will appear in the order in which they were created. It may take a while to get it all sorted out, but at least you’ll know where everything is. Trust me: it's a lifesaver - you’ll never lose your notes again!

3. Back up all of your files.

Now that you have everything organized, you don’t want to risk losing it, so you'll need to back up your files. (Remember the SATC episode - "Backup? Umm, I don't do that.") And by back up, I mean you need to upload your files to a data storage website, or save them to a flash drive or external hard drive.

Which method should you choose? There are pros and cons to each. Personally, I’m a fan of the external hard drive because it’s large enough that I know I will never run out of space, and it’s tangible. I upload my files to the hard drive, save it, and then keep it in my room where I know it's safe. That's the pro. But the con to this method is that if the hard drive breaks, the files are gone as well. With data storage sites, you don't have to worry about breaking your hard drive, but if something were to happen to the site, you risk losing your information. But these are worst case scenarios.

The moral of the story? Backing up your files anywhere is always a good move. If you have files you'd be even slightly upset to lose, you'd better back them up... now. You'll thank me later.

What do you think?

Do you have any spring cleaning rituals? What are they? Do you think it’s necessary to spring clean your virtual life as well as your real life? What method do you use to back up your files? Leave a comment and tell us your thoughts!