You’ve just been given the opportunity of a lifetime: to go on a reality show and share your life with the world. What could be more terrifying? Well, considering that nowadays, it’s impossible to escape social media-even if you’re not using it-there may be something else in your past that might make going public seem less attractive.
In this article, we’ll give you some tips for scrubbing your internet profile before going on reality show.
Here are 7 things to do in order to prepare yourself for becoming a contestant on one of these shows: tweak privacy settings; remove incriminating pictures; tidy up online dating profiles; change passwords and usernames; consider blog posts or statuses written while intoxicated by alcohol.
Tweak privacy settings
When you’re about to go on a reality show, it’s important to take time to review your social media privacy settings. You may want to choose the option that provides you with less control over who can view your profile information or just disable your account altogether.
That way, you don’t have to worry about pictures of yourself getting out and people judging you for whatever silly thing you did when you were 18 and thought nobody would see it (insert obligatory Lindsay Lohan joke here).
I learned this lesson the hard way. In 2013, I had an employee who been let go by the company. I was his skip level manager and he was angry at me, his direct supervisor and the HR manager. To get revenge on us he waited until the middle of the night on a Saturday evening and tagged the 3 of us to a bunch of porn videos.
None of us were in the videos, but it did make them appear on our feeds. Our friends and families were horrified, and yes the videos were removed from our timeline, we didn’t find out until the next morning.
The next morning I wrote a Facebook post apologizing to my friends family for something like that appearing on their feed, and I locked my account down. The screenshot below shows how and where to change your privacy settings so this can never happen to you.
a> Navigate to the setting
b> Go to Privacy
C> Scroll to the activity section
d> Change the item in the red box to ‘Use Activity Log’.
By doing this you will receive a notification when you are tagged in anything, and you have to approve it before it will be sent out to your friend, family and other contacts from Facebook.
Remove incriminating pictures
This is less taboo now than it was in 2013 when I started the site. A decade back nude selfies or drunken party images would quickly be taken by the media and blasted all over the airwaves.
Given the popularity of smart phones, I think there is now just a wealth of images that it’s less of a deal for these images to be online.
That being said, it won’t hurt to check your Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for pictures that you wouldn’t necessarily want viewed by your friends or family. Worse yet are internet trolls who could and would take them for fodder for memes.
Milana Vayntrub is an actress best known for appearing as the ATT girl in commercials. Some pictures of her in a bikini from a pool party surfaced after she became famous, and she’s been harassed for years. (Source )
She’s an inspiration in dealing with this kind of online bullying, and I applaud how she has handled this. I mention this specific incident because it has been a very negative experience, and I’ll assume that most people would want to limit this if they get the chance.
Tidy up online dating profiles
If you’re looking to go on a reality show, it is important that your dating profiles are all tidy and scrubbed. You don’t want to find out that someone has been embellishing the truth about their life when you approach them for a date.
It may be tempting to jump into bed with someone who does agree to date you, but you’ll regret it when you get there. It’s better to take your time and find someone who shares your values and interests before committing to anything serious.
This advice isn’t specifically related to going on a reality show, but I thought it was worth mentioning in case glamour work is not your main occupation.
Create an email address specifically for the public
When you apply for a show, I recommend creating a dedicated email address such as ‘BakeOff_Dave’ at gmail or other free email provider. You can use this as a contact information for other show specific social media accounts.
This is a great way to separate the fans or trolls you have from your TV appearance from the people who know you in real life. The point of this email account is that it’s not one that you tie your bills or other vital email too. If it gets hacked or targeted, you will more easily be able to separate yourself from it.
Also, if this email somehow gets leaked, it’s not the end of the world as it would be if your primary address that was linked to all your banking accounts.
Create a public page for Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
The perfect example of this is Boston Rob from Survivor. He has turned his appearance on Survivor into an entire brand. He has dedicated social media pages such as https://twitter.com/BostonRob.
Having a separate profile page allows you to have a public persona to play into the character that you were on the TV show. It will allow you to more easily separate your real life from the role you played in a certain season of a show.
You rarely get a say in how you will ultimately be portrayed. By creating a public profile page, you can provide an avenue for people to engage with you either positive or negative while keeping more control over your private contact information.
Change passwords and usernames
One of the drawbacks of being on a reality show is that you increase the number of people who are interested in hacking your accounts. Whether they are just seeking juicy pictures that they can sell or to hack your financial information to commit a crime, you are going from someone that no one thinks about to someone that is going to have a spotlight to some people.
I recommend using a password keeper for your accounts, and making the master admin password at least 16 characters consisting of multiple letters, symbols and numbers.
Usernames are a little more difficult to change and in some cases impossible. For this my suggestion is to never use the exact same username across all systems. If you keep the same username across all sites then it will be far easier for people to hack a second site after getting in the first one.
I also think it goes without saying that you should never ever reuse passwords across sites. Even if you just make something generic like add the first letter of the site name at the end of a generic password. For example your password on Facebook would be “Password_F” while your password at Twitter would be “Password_T”. This way if someone does find out one of your passwords it will fail at other sites.
I obviously recommend something more complex than this as it would to the same password for Etrade and Ebay, but it’s a great starting point and far better than just using the same password.
Consider blog posts or statuses written while intoxicated by alcohol
Many people scour their profiles for questionable images, but completely forget to check their words. Many places have reported that Ken Jennings was skipped for the permanent Jeopardy hosting role due to some poor choices around social media posts.
My suggestion is to review ALL your posts before appearing on the show and delete anything that may be controversial. Err on the side of being boring because it’s far better to remove something that would offend no one than to leave something that come back to create a target on your back.
Sadly remember some people enjoy being trolls. They are happy to take comments out of context or put them in a light simply to justify a narrative they want to tell. One of the fastest ways to gain attention in the social media age is to cause a controversy with someone more famous.
I’m not condoning their actions, but rather suggesting if someone is just looking to get famous by attacking others take steps so that you’re not an easy target.
Make sure your location services are turned off for all of your devices so people can’t see where you live based on your IP address
A lot of people don’t realize that your IP address can tell others your location. You don’t want to risk this getting into your images or streams because it could reveal your home address.
I leave the location service off by default, and I enable it for specific applications in case I need to order a pizza or grab an uber. The general rule is to default to your location service always being off, and you only allow it for applications that you trust.
Delete all of your personal data from public websites such as Google+ and YouTube
This is especially true if you have exaggerated your past accomplishments whether that be job title, college attended, degrees, awards won or even as small as GPA. A few years back there was a huge controversy when one of the main cast members of ‘Deadliest Warrior’ had been misleading about military experience.
As a legal disclaimer, I am not making any judgements or assertions about this. I am only listing this as a controversy around a show that’s been reported in multiple outlets such as Deadliest Warrior Wikipedia (Source: )
So that’s it for this post. I hope we’ve been helpful in sharing tips to protect yourself before appearing on a reality show. Are there other steps you’d recommend people take before being on a reality show?
We’d love to hear from you in the comments if you have any suggestions for applicants to do before appearing on a show.