Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Don't Read that DM

You may have seen the report on Mashable about a Twitter worm virus being spread via DM.

Unsuspecting users are receiving DMs with the following text:

If you get this DM, DO NOT VISIT THE LINK. It takes you to a replica of the Twitter (Twitter) login page where the hackers will steal your account and use it to send out more infected DMs to your friends.

The Twitter spam account has its latest status as:

By all means, don’t click on suspicious links, even if they are from friends without taking precautions. Here is some great advice from the folks at F-Secure about avoiding the problem.

How to Tweet Safely

Avoiding Bad Links, Dangerous Twits and Sneaky Spammers

More than 18 million people already using Twitter, and it probably already feels as if everyone in the world is tweeting away. But on the Internet, great growth comes with great vulnerabilities.

Capitalizing on the trust we have for our online “friends,” criminals are increasingly targeting social networks. So, stay on your toes! To protect your irreplaceable content and invaluable financial information, remember the following while you’re tweeting, re-tweeting and hashtagging away.
1. Be Aware
Twitter is the new frontier of the Internet. And as in any gold rush town, there’s all types floating through. People going to have to learn some of the same security lessons we got used to as e-mail made its way into our lives: Watch where you click; don’t sign up for/follow everything; expect a lot of silly forwards.

2. Trust but always verify

In about two minutes, you could create a Twitter account that impersonates almost anyone living or dead. Twitter has added “Verified Accounts” for celebrities, but no one is really verifying if that page was really put up by your co-worker Stu. That said hackers probably aren’t going out of their way to impersonate your co-worker Stu.
Give any Twitter you’re thinking of following a careful scan. Check if there’s a respectable image; make sure all tweets aren’t entirely repetitive self-serving spam; see if there’s a reasonable follower to following ratio. Then, if you have an interest in their Tweets, follow away.
But don’t let your guard down.
You can never really know if any Twitter account has been taken over by someone with criminal intent. Hackers have hijacked accounts and use them to spread links to spam and phishing scams. We have also seen links point to malware sites where the end goal has been to steal online banking credentials or other personal information. You can keep track of some current Twitter spam risks by following the official Spam Account.
3. Watch those links
Now we come the biggest threat on Twitter: the LINKS. As you know, once you click a link, you could end up anywhere. And Twitter is well aware that bad links have the potential to wreck some real havoc. That’s why they’ve started filtering for malicious links. But they can’t catch everything, especially because the 140 character limit demands that most URLs be abbreviated. Shortened links—even from Twitters you know and trust—can present a unique security challenge. Links from tinyurl, and other services have, in rare cases, led users directly to infected files or phishing scams. You can always expand the shortened links you find. But that doesn’t completely eliminate the risk of landing on a site that has been infected, hacked or spoofed.
4. Guard your passwords
Once a hacker has your password, you’re completely vulnerable. So guard your little jewels jealously. Most importantly, DO NOT use the same passwords for your e-mail accounts and your social networking. You should also use different accounts for your business and social accounts. Never use “password” as your password.
5. Never give yourself away
Your bank probably isn’t going to contact you through Twitter—but someone pretending to your bank or PayPal or a credit card company may. Verify any financial concern directly with your institution. And don’t trust anyone that’s asking for financial help. That’s pretty obvious, but the reason that scams exist is that they work!  When something is new and a little exiting like Twitter, people may lose themselves and slip up. Don’t be one of those people.
6. Be smart
A good question to ask yourself before you Tweet anything is: Would I say this in a room of strangers? Unless you “protect your tweets,” everything you post goes into the public timeline. So never share sensitive or confidential information—including your e-mail address. Specifically , don’t announce vacations or even too many details about your schedule in advance or while you’re away from your home.

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Sunday, September 13, 2009

Can I Catch Happiness from my Twitter Community?

A year ago, Clive Thompson wrote a provocative article in today's NY Times Magazine, Brave New World of Digital Intimacy on the social realities of Twitter and Facebook. This was the article that introduced the term, Ambient Awareness. You may recall how he described the myriad relationships of loose ties that are now possible with the platforms and how we deal with incessant online contact.

Well, Thompson has done it again, a fascinating piece in today’s NY Times Magazine, Is Happiness Catching. The article describes an innovative study by Nicholas Christakis and James Fowler, Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives. Some key points in the article:

If you want to be happy, what’s most important is to have lots of friends. The happiest people in Framingham were those who had the most connections, even if the relationships weren’t necessarily deep ones.

The reason these people were the happiest, is that happiness doesn’t come only from having deep, heart to heart talks. It comes from having daily exposure to many small moments of contagious happiness, When you see others smile, your spirits are repeatedly affected by mirroring their emotional state.

Interesting parallels with Ambient Awareness, don’t you think? If social platforms like Twitter and Facebook enable us to have friendships far in excess of theoretical Dunbar numbers, then wouldn’t those loose tie relationships affect our happiness?

Christakos and Fowler have even determined that each additional happy friend boosts good cheer by 9% and unhappy friends bring someone down by 7%. Uh oh, is this the next generation of the dreaded Twittergrader?

Seriously, it is a fantastic study that looks at the benefits of community on serious health issues like smoking and obesity. Jonah Lehrer has also written about the article in Wired, The Buddy System: How Medical Data Revealed Secret to Health and Happiness. There are some fascinating charts which demonstrate the community effects.

So what do you think? Can your social networks affect your health and happiness?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Tweet Your Way to a New Job Presentation

Last night I presented Tweet Your Way to a New Job to the Greater Seattle Jewish Business Network (GSJBN). I talked about my experience using Twitter to help in my job search. We had some great discussions around job searches and how to use social media to further your efforts. I think several people found it helpful. The presentation is posted here.

Next week, I will be presenting again to the Internet Marketing Conference- Vancouver. Then on September 23, I will also make the presentation to the Eastside SIG of the Puget Sound Chapter of the American Marketing Association (PSAMA.

I’d love to hear your feedback and experiences in using social media as part of your job search.

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Monday, September 7, 2009

One player shows the NFL how to Tweet

Last week the National Football League (NFL) announced that it was banning Twitter, before, during, and after games. The NFL said that it will let players, coaches, and other team personnel engage in social networking during the season. However, they will be prohibited from using Twitter and from updating profiles on Facebook and other social-networking sites during games. The Twitter ban goes into effect from 90 minutes before gametime until the post-game press conferences end. They don't call it the No-Fun-League without a reason. Apparently, the league is trying circumvent its players from becoming the NBA's Charlie Villanueva or Shaquille ONeal who each tweeted during games last year.

Much has already been written about the unsocial nature of this policy, impact, and overall unenforceability of this decision. I highly recommend fans read posts by Brian Solis, Adam Ostrow, and Don Reisinger.

Not all of the teams have shied away from Twitter. One, the New York Jets, have embraced it.
As a long suffering fan, I am proud to see so many Jets (Kerry Rhodes, Jay Feeley, Nick Mangold, DBrickashaw Ferguson, James Ihedigbo, Chansi Stuckey, Dustin Keller, David Clowney and Mark Sanchez) active on Twitter. Even team owner Woody Johnson has an account, although he's not very active. It's great to see the players and team support social media. On Brian Bassett's bible for Jets fans, there was a recent post that articulated the Pro's and Con's of the team's Twitter activity. Personally, I am a strong supporter of players engaging directly with their fans. It's fantastic to connect with players and learn their opinions on sports and life in general. It seems like the players are really enjoying it, too.

One Jet, has really taken to Twitter. All-Pro Safety Kerry Rhodes has been chatting with fans all weekend about potential trades and teasing us about a big announcement tomorrow at 2:00. Like most fans, I can't wait to learn what it is.

Kerry has been responding to fans with over 100 tweets this labor day weekend. Access and engagement like that is something that every fan yearns for. This is what social media is all about! It's what every company seeks- healthy conversation between fans (customers) and the team about the product. I hope that the NFL follows the example that Kerry has set and reconsiders its policy. As a Jet fan, I'm proud of Kerry Rhodes. I hope he leads the team not only to social media excellence, but also excellence on the field. Whether you're a fan of the Jets or another team, I'm sure you'll agree that the access to the players on Twitter adds a whole new dimension to being a fan.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Tweet Your Way to a New Job

As some of you may remember, I’ve had some experience with using Twitter and Social Media to find a new job. I’ve been asked to speak about my experience a few times this month.

On September 9, I will present Tweet Your Way to a New Job to the Greater Seattle Jewish Business Network. The event will be at 7:00 at Seattle’s Temple Beth Am is at 2632 NE 80th Street. The presentation will answer:

- How to use social networks like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter
- The importance of personal branding
- Is the resume dead?
- Which networks work best?
- How to make connections that matter?
- Who do I turn to for help?
- What should I ask my friends to do?
- What are some potential roadblocks?

The following week, on September 18th, I will give a similar presentation at the Internet Marketing Conference- Vancouver. This is a great conference that I highly recommend, especially if you’ve never been to that beautiful city. Now you have a great reason to go.

On September 23, I will also make the presentation to the Eastside SIG of the Puget Sound American Marketing Association (PSAMA).

Finally, it’s not too late to vote (but please hurry, tonight is the deadline) for the panel that Saul Colt and I would like to give at SXSW, Tweet Your Way to Your Next Job.

I hope that by sharing my story and experience, I can help some people to navigate social media and find a new position.  I hope to see you at one of these events.  Please let me know you’re coming.  Also, please share your experience in using social media as part of your job search below.

Once it’s complete, I will post the presentation to Slideshare.  Stay tuned.