Tag Archives: twitter

Protect your digital identity and information on social networks

Sites like Facebook, Twitter, MySpace , LinkedIn, Orkut, Zorpia, Flicker, twicpic, yfrog and YouTube.etc, are social media sites designed to share information such as who and where you are and what you are doing, photos and video. This is a comical example of how information is shared using social media sites to tell the Digital Story of the Nativity.

Social media sites are a great way to connect to close friends and family, or even re-connect with old classmates and old co-workers. Also it can be a great way to find and connect to new groups with interests common to your own.

With just a few clicks people can access messages, know where their contacts are, what are they doing. All this makes for an entertaining experience network. The speed and immediacy that characterizes them are useful to inform and share content, true, but it can also jeopardize your own job or worse and compromise your privacy and security. Also the content posted on the site stays on the server even after you disable your account and is searchable.

The trouble starts when it becomes an addiction, if people spend too much time discussing everything that happens in their lives without taking the necessary steps to protect what is shared. It is logical to enjoy safely social media sites, which have the ability to control how visible your information and pictures are on the site as well as any search engines who parses that data.

Below is a series of recommendations to protect the identity information in digital networks and it is up to you to decide how visible you want your contact and profile information, videos, photos, and other posts need to be, and take the time to set the appropriate controls within the media site in question. For each one of us it is important to have a good view of what is published and learn to manage and protect our identity.

Although this presentation is from last year some of the information is still relevant

Exposure Level

The search is an important aspect of social networks. It is up to the users if they want to be seen by all members of a network or just want to be seen only by their contacts.

It should make a conscious choice and set the profile, rather than leave it to the default settings, they usually allow some of the profile information such as name and main photo to be found on page and through Internet search engines.

Personal Data
Be cautious about posting and sharing personal information. Do not reveal passwords, keys, date of birth, home address, phone number and place of birth. Do not put your full resume online, if you must, remove it when you find a job. Protect the answers to secret questions that make social networks. The combination of that publicly available information and your public post about hanging out with friends on Saturday night across town could be enough for someone to take advantage of the situation and break into your house.

Information Policy
Generally every page has a link that explains how to use the information by users and gives tips for safe keeping. Note that when entering a network, it is giving license or right to use any information that is on these sites.

Privacy
All sites have a link to a “Privacy” page that explains how your information is used and provides tips on staying safe. Determine how visible the information is that you post on social networks and search engines (profile, photos, videos and posts.) Each page allows you to select privacy settings, read them and adjust by trial the level of control and privacy you want.

Twitter Safety
There is an option that messages, pictures and videos that can only be seen by their followers, for this you must change the default settings of Twitter.
Think twice before posting or even clicking on a post. Consider what could happen if a post becomes widely known and how that may reflect both on you (as the poster) or your family, friend or workplace. i.e. Jason Manford quits The One Show over sex messages

With a little effort and some common sense you can enjoy and safely participate in social media sites. Ultimately though, it’s up to you to manage your digital identity. You must use good judgment about what you post and learn how you protect your personal data and reputation from the digital networks.

Happy Christmas.

Team Twitter

Twitter

Clock number 5Nearly everyone in Web Services has a Twitter account.
MikeNolanJanetHowarthstedanielstraffordtigerpiddyzedzdead

Many of the team have a Delicious account for storing all our bookmarks there’s even a team one.

We needed  a way to comunicate useful information from the team without it getting lost in the clutter of our personal posts.  We needed a team identity on Twitter.

Delicious

Most people have heard of twitter (its so mainstream, even the BBC now offer a #hashtag at the beginning of some of their programmes if you want to get in on the discussion) but if you haven’t heard of Delicious, it’s a social bookmarking site. It saves your bookmarks to a website, so as long as you have a connection to the web, you’ll have access to your bookmarks no matter what browser or device you’re working from. It’s social, because you can network with other users and push links to those who you might think would be interested them.

We push links to the ehu.webteam account that we think the team might find interesting or useful. Pushing a link is easy (in this case I’m using the Firefox plugin):

FireFox plugin

RSS

The link will be stored in the inbox of the ehu.webteam delicious account. Everything in delicious has an rss feed, including inboxes, so we can pull that feed into anything we like, even a twitter account. Pulling an rss feed into a twitter account is easy too. Just create an account at TwitterFeed.com and add your feeds:

TwitterFeed

Twitter Feed

As we also blog, so it made a lot of sense to add the feed from that too.

Finally we created our twitter account under the rocking title of @EHUWebServices. We’re using a HAL9000 image for our avatar, but we’ll change that if you have a better idea.

Christmas question: Why was the computer in 2001 a Space Odyssey called HAL?  Google Caesar cipher for a clue if you don’t want to go straight to the answer!

So now we have a twitter account for Web Services which automatically displays any worthy links spotted by team members and all of our blog posts. Follow us its good stuff!

Student Life

The latest batch of student bloggers have just started writing for Hi and this year a few new things are being introduced. Most notably they’re also making use of Twitter. It’s still early days but it’s a great insight into student life at Edge Hill. Over the coming months we’ll be making more use of this “student life” content not just in Hi but in parts of our corporate website, possibly embedding a Twitter widget:

If you use Twitter you can follow these students on @edgehill’s “Student Life” list.

Handling Social Media Overload


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Wednesday night at Static played host to the second Liverpool Social Media Cafe and I was one of the speakers. The audio was recorded so you can hear exactly what I said or read below for some notes.

RSS is not dead

For the last few years various people have claimed that RSS is dead, like this article from TechCrunch:

“It’s time to get completely off RSS and switch to Twitter. RSS just doesn’t cut it anymore.”

– Steve Gillmor

And this one from ZDNet:

“RSS: A good idea at the time but there are better ways now”

– Sam Diaz

In my opinion claiming Twitter is a replacement for RSS is like saying you’ve stopped watching the news and find out what’s going on by listening in to conversations at the bus stop.  RSS readers may not have the same widespread appeal that Facebook has found but they are an essential tool for many purposes.

Google Reader

Many of the tips below make use of feeds so it’s important you know how they work.  I’ve been a fan of Google Reader for many years – it’s available for desktop and mobile and there are apps that integrate with it too.

Find a better Twitter client

Twitter.com isn’t perfect. Despite their best efforts to “fill holes” in the product there are still many things that the website doesn’t do on its own. Fortunately for the power user there are many third party clients available so find one that you like.

TweetDeck

If you’re sat at your desk most of the day a desktop client can be a very useful way to manage your Twitter stream.  The first thing you should do is turn off pop up notifications and sounds – they’re very distracting.  TweetDeck handles multiple accounts and even allows you to add Foursquare and Facebook to the mix.

HootSuite

HootSuite has quite a lot of fans.  Personally I’ve always been put off it by the awful ht.ly tracking bar it adds to links but recently I’ve started playing with it a bit more and I like some of its features.

CoTweet

But for companies wanting to track customer engagement, CoTweet is excellent.  It’s designed for exactly that purpose and you’ll see it being used by some very big companies like BT, Vodafone, O2

One feature CoTweet and HootSuite share is the ability to delegate access out to several members of a team without them needing to know the password. Both also allow you to make use of the carat syntax to show who in a team is tweeting, giving a personal fact to your account.

RSSFriends.com

Really simple site – plug in a Twitter username and RSSFriends will give you a feed to subscribe to showing new followers with far more detail than the standard notification email.  Helps you some way to achieving Inbox Zero.

search.twitter.com

Search on the main Twitter website sucks so go to the standalone search.twitter.com. Better still grab your feed addresses and plug them into your feed reader.

TwapperKeeper

Twitter search has the fairly serious limitation of only keeping about 7 days of tweets available for searching. The solution is a service like TwapperKeeper which regularly polls Twitter Search and saves the results to an archive. You can access this through an API, as a feed or download the data for processing in other ways.

Automate, Consolidate, Mainstream

The final part of my talk was three ways of managing your social media presences better.

Automate: use a service like TwitterFeed#mce_temp_url# to send the contents of RSS feeds from a blog or news site to Twitter and Facebook.  Other sites such as Flickr or WordPress can auto-post to Twitter as well.

Consolidate: break up your messages into simple chunks that can be posted to multiple networks.  Both Facebook and Twitter have the ability to post to the other network but make sure your messages are relevant, for example by not posting @replies to Facebook.

Mainstream: once you know that a service is working for your organisation, try to mainstream its use – spread the load of people updating sites.  Make sure there’s a spread of people involved – it’s good to have both technical and marketing people for example.

Finally, don’t be afraid to Mark All Read and if something isn’t working, Fail Fast.

Live Blogging the Budget

This week’s budget gave a good opportunity to see how different news organisations handled live reporting on their websites so I did a quick scan through a few TV and newspaper websites and screen grabbed what I could see.

The reason I’m interested is that the 125 anniversary has provided an opportunity for a large number of events on campus for some of these like the Manifesto for Change event to have a remote audience engaging online via streaming video and live chat.

Read more after the break!

Continue reading

Facebook Privacy


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There’s been quite a lot in the news lately about a backlash against Facebook’s privacy settings with many people believing their attitude to personal information security is too lax. This isn’t a new issue – nearly three years ago I blogged about it – but now that Facebook is so huge across the board and not just amongst university and college students the debate has started to reach further.

Facebook have responded by trying to be more open about what configuration options are available and explaining how to control what you share. They provide shortcuts to restrict the level of information shared to “everyone”, “friends of friends” or just “friends” along with a comforting-sounding “recommended” settings. I imagine most people will choose this which is pretty scary. Take a look at what that means you will be publishing:

Choosing the recommended settings means everyone – not just Facebook members but the general public – will be able to see status updates like the ones you post when you’re mad with your boss or photos you took at the end of a night out or biographical details like where you work. Information available to “friends of friends” opens the door to the 1200 “friends” your 17 year old cousin has and do you really want them all seeing photos of you?

We shouldn’t be too critical of Facebook – they have a business to run and shareholders who expect them to maximise profit from advertising which means persuading you to be as open as possible with the information you share. The onus is on individuals to carefully consider the information they share and the implications it might have on their life. More importantly this isn’t a one off job – you should be reviewing privacy settings on a regular basis.

What do I do? I have a set of custom settings which generally means only friends can see what I publish except the groups “Limited Profile” and “Colleagues”:

On the other hand I use Twitter, Flickr, foursquare, delicious and many other services where information I publish is completely public but I understand the risks involved and am constantly aware that everything I write online could come back to bite me.

Higher Education homepages in the snow

Over the last couple of days there’s been a bit of snow around the country and I’ve been keeping our homepage up to date. Yesterday morning in between making changes I did a quick scan around some websites to take screenshots of their homepages. It’s interesting to see the different approaches which often didn’t correspond to the severity – some had big banners saying, effectively, “we’re open!” while others had a standard news announcing closure of campus well below the fold.

I’ve uploaded the screenshots to my Flickr stream and highlighted the relevant areas or watch the slideshow below:

Our approach was to insert an additional notification area above the main feature. I think it’s obvious enough to be seen and appreciated as a temporary announcement while not being confused with, or detracting from, the main feature area. We also had announcements on the GO news area and posted updates to the Edge Hill Twitter account and Facebook “Fan” page

Brian Kelly posted this morning about his use of Twitter yesterday to find out that the University of Bath was closed for the day and of course we already know they’ve had experience of doing this before. On the Edge Hill account, I tried to blend news announcements with interesting things like a link to Andy’s photos but it’s hard to say how well used it was – we certainly added a few (real) followers to the account over the last 48 hours.

Top 10 of 2009

It’s that time of year where you have to post an annual wrap-up of the previous year’s posts.

10. Google Apps Mail – POP/IMAP/iPhone

Just sneaking into the top ten is Steve’s introduction to some of the ways to access email for users of the new Google powered email.

9. New Departmental Sites

Sam introduces a summer’s worth of hard work (not so much from me – I was driving across America!)

8. Create a better search engine than Google

A post from late 2008 writing up a presentation I gave at BarCamp Liverpool and repeated at IWMW 2009.

7. Twouble with Twitters

An attempt to balance out #2 in the list by taking a sideswipe at those who are maybe a little too addicted :)

6. Argleton goes national!

A write up of some of the early coverage of the Argleton meme.

5. Rise of the Mega Menu

Coming soon to a website or portal near you – still a few things to iron out but we hope you’ll like what we do.

4. Roy Bayfield at the TV advert filming

Live on the set of the forthcoming TV advert and testing out the new Flip Camera we’ve got.

3. Browser stats

Everyone loves web stats, okay maybe it’s just me! Six months on and Internet Explorer has dropped to 76.9%, Firefox down a little to 13.5%, Opera has held steady while Webkit-based browsers, Safari and Chrome, have jumped to 5.6% and 3.6% respectively.  Breaking down IE shows IE6 use continues to fall (down to under 11%) while IE8 usage has trebled.  There’s hope for a standards-based-browser future yet!

2. What should @edgehill do on Twitter?

Little did I know when I wrote this post that it would unleash such a debate!  Ironically we’ve just had the 2’ of snow that benefitted Bath’s uptake so we’ll see whether usage grows!

1. Google Renames Village

And in at #1 is a little post I fired out about a typo on a map :)

Tags

As well as individual posts, a number of tag pages that rank pretty highly including “symfony”, “argleton”, “google maps”, “twiterdeck” and “facebook”.

125 by 125

Do you ever have really great ideas that on second thoughts are incredibly stupid?  Yeah, I have them all the time but usually I’m sensible enough not to tell anyone about them.  A month ago I was caught out by an email from Corporate Marketing Communications and Student Recruitment asking what people are doing for the anniversary celebrations.  I had a flash of inspiration and fired off a reply:

I’ll do something with Twitter or a blog for 125, maybe similar to the 365 projects that people do – one photo per day for 125 days.

It was that quick.  Fast forward 30 days and I’m starting to think that was a really, really stupid suggestion.  Writing 25 posts across the whole team has been difficult enough so what am I playing at committing to posting every day for four months?!

If I’m going to have any chance of making this work I’m going to a) need help and b) make it simple, so give me your ideas, people!  My initial thought was to raid the archives, take a load of photos and just post them rather than having to write lots for each day – that way I could spend an hour or two every couple of weeks and schedule ahead.  I could also broaden it out and persuade other people to blog or highlights from some of the 125 events happening on campus.

Picking things that might be of interest is also important – I’m not doing this for myself – so what would you like to see?  Post your comments below!

Breaking News

That picture of the plane in the Hudson river was for many people the first time that Twitter had brought them images of breaking news.  It was quickly retweeted around the internet and even made it onto traditional broadcast news.  Not surprising that major stories are broken this way, but over the last couple of days I’ve become more aware of this happening at a local level.

photoOn Saturday afternoon, I was enjoying a quiet drink in the Peacock on Seel Street when we spotted smoke coming out of a building across the road.  I resisted tweeting about it until the flames started coming out of the roof!

I wasn’t the only person to spot the fire and Twitter Search’s “nearby” function pointed me to several other people who’d seen it, telling me it was a Greek restaurant on Parr Street that was on fire. A few minutes later I got a message from a journalist at the Liverpool Daily Post and Echo asking if they could use one of my photos. A few minutes after that and it was on their website.

Sunday, and I learnt of the monkey escape at Chester Zoo from a friend’s tweet. Very nearly the “oh my God, I just saw a monkey run down the street” moment I’ve been waiting for!

Finally, just an hour ago I heard about a collapsed crane in Liverpool which, according to Alison Gow, will be the Echo’s first ever front cover Twitter byline.

It’s a mad world.