Internet Security News & Views

Twitter – Getting the most out of Twitter while being aware of Security Risks

How to Make the Most of Your Twitter Account

Twitter is one of the most popular social media networks around, with over 200 million active users all sending up to 500 million tweets per day. If you are not one of the many Twitterers out there then you may well be missing out as users share information, communicate with one another and spread messages quickly and easily from anywhere in the world. So if you are not yet a convert here are 10 great ways you can make the most of Twitter, the best Twitter add-ons and the security risks you need to avoid.

  1. Link Your Blog to Twitter. Most blog hosts will allow you to link up with Twitter so that each time you update your blog, an automatic tweet of your latest blog post goes out to all your followers.
  2. Be Selective. Twitter is not a competition to see who can get the most followers. Only follow those relevant to your website or interests as this way you can make valuable connections. You may only have 15 followers but those 15 people can potentially offer you some valuable business contacts.
  3. Comment is Free. Be generous and retweet (RT) interesting comments and reply to others in order to make your mark and start a conversation. If you help others to raise their profile, they are more likely to repay the favour.
  4. Tweet Regularly. Obviously you don’t have to spend all day updating twitter as this will only annoy your followers, but around 5 tweets a day is considered to be good twitter etiquette.
  5. Get to Know the Twitter Rules. Generally speaking, be polite, don’t spam people or tweet lots of links back to your own website, don’t drink and tweet and don’t treat celebrities like they are your new best friend.
  6. Connect with your Twitter Followers. Post relevant and interesting information that is of use to them.
  7. Think Before You Tweet. Ask yourself, is it interesting? Will it provoke discussion? Is it offensive? Remember that people have been sued for making libellous tweets so take some time to consider your tweet before you post it.
  8. Connect, Discover and Link. Make full use of the hashtag to group your tweet with others on the same topic, link or use the @ to make your post stand out. If you use @ when appropriate you know that at least one person will get to read your tweet.
  9. Make New Connections. By choosing who you follow wisely, you can use Twitter’s ‘Who to Follow’ suggestions for other relevant people, organisations or groups to follow.
  10. Show Your Personality. Twitter is an informal, friendly place so leave the suit and tie at home and don’t be afraid to let your character come across in your posts. People like to see the human side behind the tweets.

The Best Twitter Add-Ons

There are other ways you can enhance your usage of Twitter too by using some of the many add-ons available.

  • Twitpic allows you to send pictures from your phone or other mobile device straight to Twitter.
  • Power Twitter is a browser add-on that expands links and pictures automatically for you.
  • Tweetdeck allows users to manage multiple accounts, picture and mobile uploads. You can separate direct messages (DMs), @replies and see individual tweets without even having to log onto Twitter and all are in an organised column format that you can chop and change to suit your needs.

Twitter’s Security Risks

If you are a business whose employees use company computers to access Twitter, Facebook and other social media networks then you are exposing your business to potentially harmful viruses, Trojans, worms, malicious downloads, etc. The most common security risks are:

  • Click Tricks. A post will entice the user to click on a URL to watch a video or view some photos. The user is then told that they need to download software in order to view the video or photos but what they are actually downloading is a virus.
  • Malicious Links. Shortened URLs have been targeted lately and replaced with malicious URLs instead, so they may look perfectly legit but they are not.
  • Phishing Scams. Direct Messages have been used to trick people into giving away their personal details.

You can get security solutions which will allow employees access to social media but will include filters to prevent them from downloading anything by accident or clicking on suspicious links. Surfwall by Omniquad is just one option available that will safeguard any number of computers.

Trolls and Offensive Tweets

Twitter is a public social network that allows people to say what they like. It’s inevitable that you will get some negative tweets. Don’t respond and get into a public slanging match, just take everything with a pinch of salt and remember that there is a block option for users who persistently tweet offensive comments.

Twitter Hacking

Like most social media sites with a large number of users, Twitter is also a popular target for hackers.  Twitter was also hacked just recently.  Read more about this in the article “Twitter Hacked – details of 250,000 Twitter users compromised.”  Our best advice to stay safe is to ensure you use different passwords across all your social media, whether it is Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest or Yahoo!  Read more about password security in our article “Protecting your online security – Your guide to safe passwords

– The Omniquad Team

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