How to clean your Facebook profile & have a digital detox

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It's time to tighten your privacy settings, cull friends & say goodbye to Farmville, you mucky pup...

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Have you ever tipped over your keyboard and seen all the dirt and gunk from between the keys fall out? Chances are your Facebook profile is in the same grubby state.

If you set it up a few years ago, there's the likelihood that it's sat there accumulating dodgy photos and questionable apps like virtual crumbs.

And while the only person likely to notice your grubby keyboard is you, your scuzzy profile is online for all to see. But the good news is that giving it a clean is even easier than giving you machine a wipe down with a damp flannel and a soft-bristle toothbrush. And you can start right now...

How to detox your Facebook


1. Update your About section


When we set up our account, back in the early days, there was no limit to the amount of information we wanted to share. So now, the first thing you'll want to do is check your About section and reassess.

If your mobile number is on there, delete it immediately. As for the more personal sections, it turns out that 19-year-old you wasn't as funny or as angsty as you thought at the time. Get rid of that depressing Sylvia Plath quote, and delete the part that says you're part of The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster (unless, of course, that's true. Power to you.)

2. Change your profile picture


We've all heard the stories about employers looking up job applicants on Facebook. While we're sure not every company has time for it, why take the chance.

If it's not your employer, it may be your crush, or your mum (Why is she on Facebook, again?) We probably don't need to say this, but don't make your profile photo a drunk pic, or anything where you're on the floor. If you're dying to be fun and creative, save it for your cover photo space.

3. Check your posts


Remember when Facebook used to prompt you to update your status with "Sarah is..." Take a look back at your posts and you'll see how limiting this was. While there's no need to delete posts because they're boring, you might want to look at previous posts for excessive self-indulgence or angst. Any early wall-correspondence with an ex-boo should also be consigned to the digital dustbin.

4. Reassess your friendships


That guy you met at a party one time? That girl you used to sit next to in some of your University lectures? If you haven't seen them in over six months, they're not really your friends. It's fine to keep them as 'Friends' if you don't want to awkwardness of defriending them, but you probably don't want to see a status update every time the go to the gym.

Recategorise everyone into acquaintances and friends and change the visibility settings accordingly. If necessary you can put annoying friends on the Restricted list. This limits them to viewing posts you've made public, without notifying them of the change. Or you could, you know, defriend them. We're sure they won't be too cut up about it.

5. Take a long hard look at your photos


Start with your own uploads and delete or hide anything that might reflect badly on you - this might be drunk pics or it might be a whole album entitled 'Random', featuring blurry pictures of food, in da club photos with no flash, and that squirrel you saw that one time.

Then move on to photos of you tagged by other people and untag yourself if necessary.

6. Say goodbye to annoying apps


Facebook apps can gather all kinds of information from your profile. For each app, click Edit and review the permissions it has.

Get rid of any apps you no longer use. To stop apps from overrunning your profile, go to the Apps Settings page and remove them from your account. If you've got a friend or family member who constantly bombards you with app invitations, choose the Manage Blocking link and add them pronto.

7. Check your privacy settings


Decide who you want to see the information you share on Facebook, then take some time to customise your privacy settings.

This is particularly useful for photos, as you can choose which albums to make publicly available or hide. You can also decide if people are allowed to tag you in their images. With the new Facebook Timeline you can also determine who sees your posts on a post-by-post basis.

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