How to avoid a tech hangover after the office Xmas party

Digital Dilemmas: Social media has evidence of your antics - so what are you going to do about it?

...Facebook. Maybe you added the intern as your newest Facebook friend or uploaded a photo of your boss looking sicker than a parrot. Delete both as appropriate.

After analysing the night's digital footprint, you should be in a better position to assess how much damage limitation is needed - whether it's detagging Facebook photos, deleting tweets, or sending apologetic texts or emails. If your boss was involved in your drama then ring him or her up and grovel. Get your apologies in fast and your antics might even have become something to laugh about by lunchtime.

Captured and chronicled by others
So far, so redacted. But, as every regretful reveller knows, social media is not a one-way street so it's highly likely that your dodgy dancing, unfortunate fancy dress moment or inappropriate clinch has been captured and chronicled by other party attendees.

Detagging Facebook photos removes them from your Facebook account but does not remove them from the site altogether - so be prepared to beg individual colleagues to delete or not upload any particularly unfortunate images.

Likewise, if there are any official office party pics destined for the company intranet, get your eyeballs on them as fast as possible and remove or request the removal of any compromising shots before an enterprising colleague creates and circulates copies.

If you're concerned about colleagues posting public messages on your Facebook wall about the night's antics you could do worse than temporarily deactivating your account. This measure won't delete any contents but effectively takes your Facebook profile offline for the time being, so no one can post embarrassingly suggestive 'Feeling a bit green/regretful/ashamed this morning are we?' messages for all to see.

There is a downside to this though: by deactivating your account you are temporarily closing the door on the whole social network and admitting as much to anyone who goes looking for you, so you won't be aware of what's being said or posted about you on other people's pages. Still, ignorance of social chatter might well feel like bliss at this point.

Twitter as a confessional
Lastly, Twitter: if you're a big Twitter user you might be tempted to use the microblogging service as a confessional, channelling any pangs of regret by 'fessing up and voicing misgivings for whatever went down in the past 24 hours. Unpacking your conscience in 140 characters, as it were.

This step might sound appealing but don't be fooled: you'll just be adding fresh fuel to the office gossip merry-go-round by confirming the rumours. No matter how abstractly you codify a message of contrition, someone somewhere will know exactly what it signifies and be laughing themselves silly at your expense, so step away from the keyboard.

Misdirection is a much better strategy at this sensitive time so why not compose a tweet designed to put the gossipmongers off the scent?

"Finally finished my thesis on Das Kapital", say, or "I really believe the PM could learn a lot about communication from watching the rapport between the X-Factor judges".

Or even: "Burned the midnight oil getting the figures straight for the Q2 financials. I rock!".

Alternatively, if you really must let off steam, then set up an anonymous Twitter account - that cannot in any way whatsoever be connected to you or anyone your work with - and fire away.

If the truth must digitally out, just make sure it never comes back to really haunt you.