No doubt about it. Twitter is a great and useful tool. It cuts down barriers and makes everyone from political leaders to reality TV stars accessible. It champions the everyman. It helps raise the profile of individuals, brands, issues and products alike. Got a campaign you want to back? Use Twitter. Need to do a spot of fund-raising? Use Twitter.
You can make friends around the globe and forge relationships with people you’ve never even met. Or, why not opt for a quick chinwag with like-minded folk and exchange opinions with hundreds or in some cases thousands of followers. Or even share some tips with just a few. All of this in 140 characters or less.
Yes, Twitter is a useful tool indeed. But before you blindly stumble into merrily tweeting your life story, it’s worth considering how to protect your Twitter account. After all, if it’s a personal account, everything you tweet is going public. And for business, brands and the like there’s little point in spending hours, days or even weeks building up a profile, only to lose it.
Kicking off, basic tips involve choosing a strong password. Go for a mixture of symbols, numbers and letters and there’s plenty of specific advice available on this. Additionally, try to use the more secure HTTPS setting when logging into Twitter.
Now, when it comes to content, currently Twitter only has the capacity to give users access to the previous 3200 of their tweets. Anything you’ve tweeted prior to this is wiped, or if it exists, is totally unreachable, which can be a bit of a problem if you’ve built-up contacts and information. That is unless you’ve been a clever clogs and chosen to download your tweets using tools that are available to assist with this. Completely free, TweetDownload this allows users to save their tweets, protecting that valuable content. There is also another useful free Twitter Tool, TweetDelete, which allows users to avoid the laborious task of individually deleting tweets and instead do it en masse or by setting a timeframe in which to keep tweets.
And what about content; what are you tweeting about? It’s worth always bearing in mind that all information you’re putting out there is going into the public domain. And once it’s there, the damage can be done. Take for instance, Alexa Dell, the daughter of computer tycoon, Michael Dell. The 18-year-old embraced the sharing element of Twitter whole-heartedly, tweeting lots of personal information including the location and date of her high school graduation dinner. Perhaps not such a great move as the daughter of a billionaire, and particularly one who is reported as spending over $2 million a year on personal security. Of course, being the off-spring of a wealthy mogul may not be a problem for everyone, but over-sharing is. Think of it like this: tweeting the fact that you’re going on holiday for two weeks is a little like putting an advert in the local paper saying, my house is going to be empty, come help yourself.
If you don’t recognise a link, or tweet, then it’s probably best not to click through. Recent, hacking scams have included what’s sometimes called a bait message. This is usually worded along the lines of, ‘this person is writing terrible things about you’ and features a link. Clicking through may take you to a new session page, and signing in with give scammers your log in details. So always check the URL; is it Twitter? And if in doubt, leave it out.
About the Author: Ben Jones is a tech consultant who has been helping a range of business large and small utilise cloud technologies to increase business efficiency around southern England.