Posts Tagged ‘Twitter’

Would You Give Up Your RSS Reader For Twitter?

Sunday, July 5th, 2009

I’ve been giving a lot of thought lately on how to make my online blog and article reading more efficient.  I am subscribed to over 200 blogs in Google Reader and what used to be easy to skim on a daily basis is becoming next to impossible.  I used to have more time at the last company to catch up on blog reading throughout the day, but since the switch to PlasticSurgery.com I just can’t dedicate the kind of time needed to get through the list.

My reader is chock full of stuff from varied interests, but SEO is by far the largest category with the most frequent updates.  Last month I threw out the idea of having my readers and twitter followers decide what blogs stay in my reader, but I haven’t been able to come up with a valid way to expedite the process.  Today, while spending a little extra time catching up on last weeks posts I started thinking to myself, if I gave up my SEO blogs in reader could I pick up enough of the most important SEO information on twitter and other social outlets alone?

What are your thoughts? Do you think there is enough buzz on twitter from the SEO community to keep you well informed, or is there simply too much information and noise to consider twitter and social media a reliable source?  Share your thoughts in the comments below or weigh in on my previous idea to let my readers decide what I read.

Twitter or Google Fix Potential Exploit

Sunday, April 19th, 2009

A few weeks back I did a post about a Twitter exploit that could hurt you.  Many argued the exploit was more on Google’s end than Twitter’s, but that it was a valid concern nonetheless.  Today when I returned from my weekend long camping trip I of course had a plethora of e-mails waiting for me, one of which was a twitter follow notification for WeaponMasters.com.  I was happy to see that in the e-mail the usename was not a link, which leads me to believe that Google or Twitter has done something about the potential exploit I previously mentioned.

Below is the e-mail as it appeared in my Gmail account.  You’ll notice that unlike previous e-mails the member name is not a link.

Weaponmasters.com Twitter follow notification.

This is what one of the e-mails looked like previously with the member name in the e-mail as a link.

I highly doubt that this is Google’s handy work since a test e-mail to myself with nothing but a .com address in it still appears as a link, so my assumption is that Twitter has gotten wise to the potential damage this could do and done something on their end to prevent the e-mails from displaying domain members names as URL’s.  Regardless, I tip my hat to whoever took it upon themselves to rectify this potential exploit.

The Twitter Exploit That COULD Hurt You

Thursday, March 26th, 2009

This isn’t the first time I’ve brought up this potential exploit. I mentioned it briefly in my post The Rise and Fall of Twitter, but this is the first time I’ve seen the concern since, and because I so blindly fell into the trap again I feltt it was worthy enough to write about.

With Twitter going more mainstream it seems that everyone is jumping on the twitter bandwagon. The problem with this is more users means a greater opportunity to attack computers by the masses. What I experienced before, and again tonight, was not malicious, but it clearly opened my eyes to the opportunity.

It turns out that if someone decides to use a domain name as their twitter username, the e-mail you receive saying they are following you will generate their username as a link. Now obviously I am an internet savvy person and yet I still managed to accidentally click on this link, which directed me to a website. I most likely clicked the link out of habit; most follower notifications only have a single clickable link in the body of the e-mail, which directs you to the followers Twitter profile. I get a high volume of follower notifications each day, so I try to breeze through them as quickly as possible by clicking the link, seeing if the person is interesting enough to follow back, and then proceeding to the next e-mail. Do you see now where the potential for problems is? Below you will see the e-mail exactly as it appeared in my inbox.

Twitter Follower E-mail Notification

As you can see, I use Gmail, which could play a part in what I’m experiencing. I have no idea how any other e-mail client or provider acts with these kinds of requests, however if you know I’d love to hear from you.

Fortunately for me and my computer the username I clicked on didn’t link to a malicious site, instead it took me to channelorange.com, a social networking site that is being built for the Greater Orange County area. But as you can see had this been any other site I and my computer could have been exposed to just about anything.

This discovery leads me to think that maybe Twitter should consider restricting the use of domain names as a username. Obviously there are a ton of .com’s on Twitter already that aren’t using their domain as the username, so there are easy ways around it.

What do you think of this exploit? Do you think I’m just dumb and careless and that something like this shouldn’t be a concern, or do you feel this is a legitimate concern and something that could be exploited in the future?

The Rise and Fall of Twitter

Thursday, February 19th, 2009

The Death of TwitterFirst it was the curse of the fail whale, and then hackers took on the identity of pop singer Britney Spears and President Barack Obama.  Then the curse of the twitter clones which impersonated nearly everyone you could think of.  Then yesterday it was reported that actress and pop star Miley Cyrus had her twitter account hacked and suspended.  All of these things raise the question, when is enough, enough?

Let me start by saying I love twitter, I check my updates about every half hour or so on a moderately busy day and will probably continue to use it despite all of the problems the social giant has experienced in the past year.  I joined Twitter back when your biggest concern was a daily fail whale occurrence.  I left twitter briefly after the frustrations of fail whale to play on the then promising Plurk, but in the end returned to my first love twitter for the long haul.  Through all of this I have finally come to accept that Twitter has its quirks and that it’s not perfect.  The catch is that I am a search marketer and a social media addict, I deal with the internet and various websites all day and know that it doesn’t always play the way we want it to.

But now that twitter is more mainstream and being used by celebrities, mainstream media, moms, dads, and even teens when do the quirks start turning away users who are less in tune with the ins and outs of spammers, hackers, and downtimes?  Most everyone I know loved Myspace when it started, but then as the spam got worse and more issues with the site popped up people started moving on to other social websites.

Fail Whale

Tweet from Michael Weigand about the increase in fail whales during SMX.When you consider things like downtimes Twitter has significantly improved instances of the fail whale since I started using it, but he still pokes his head above water from time to time.  Most recently during the massive loads caused during SMX.  Again as an SEO I understand that there is an increase load coming in because of the event and things are going to happen.  To anyone else, Twitter is just having issues and is down.

In the case of exploits and hacks if celebrities are scared off by the lack of security to their accounts many of the people who have joined twitter to interact with celebrities will be quick to follow.  If people don’t feel secure they are less likely to stick with your site.  I know a number of people who again gave up on Myspace because their accounts had been hacked on more than one occasion.

I Told You I Don’t Like Spam!

Spam is another huge issue.  Sure these days our e-mail accounts are smart enough to capture most of the junk that comes in from spammers, but that doesn’t stop follower notifications from bogus spam accounts like in the case of the twitter clones.  I was receiving upwards of 25-50 follower notifications a day for a few weeks there from impostor accounts for people like Barry Schwartz, Vanessa Fox, Lisa Barone and tons more.  Since I already follow these people I know that these accounts were bogus and I knew the messages that appeared in these accounts were bogus, but again to new twitter users who may be less informed it is very possible they may fall victim to these spammers and either follow them back or even worse click on a spammy link thinking it’s something from a trusted source.

It just goes to show that if Twitter can’t do more to protect it’s users they could face a similar fate to that of Myspace.  The more the system is exploited the less trusting new users are going to be and the more wary experienced users will become.  I discovered a potential exploit this afternoon when I received a follower notification from a user whose username happened to be their domain name.  Turns out when the notification goes out it turns that username into a link, at least which is how it displays in Gmail. If a user can create an account using a spammy or harmful domain name as their username, the unsuspecting may click on the link and wind up in a world of trouble.  Again think back to Myspace.  Remember all those times you got something that looked like it was Myspace, but it was just a façade to steal your password?  I think while Twitter is working to monetize itself it should also look at better ways to secure itself.

What are your thoughts?  If the clone accounts, hacking, and downtimes continue would it change the way you see our beloved Twitter?

Twitovation: Using Twitter In Innovative Ways

Monday, December 29th, 2008

With Twitter becoming more and more popular with businesses and individuals I thought I would take a moment to share an innovative way I have seen twitter used recently.  Many of you probably aren’t familiar with the dark subculture event Bats Day in the Fun Park.  The annual event, which celebrated its 10 year anniversary last year started with a small group of about 80 dark subculture scenesters going to Disneyland and has grown into what is being called the premiere event on the West Coast, if not the world, for the Gothic and Industrial subculture of all ages.  In 2009 Bats Day in the Fun Park will wrap up its “Year of a Million Screams” celebration which began in November.  What does this have to do with Twitter you ask?  Everything.

As part of the “Year of A Million Screams” celebration Bats Day in the Fun Park began giving away “scream prizes” for simply being at Disneyland during the event.  The process for a chance at winning a prize was simple; Follow Bats Day on Twitter and have the Twitter messages sent to your cell phone. On Nov 9th, throughout the day at Disneyland, event organizer Noah Korda would send out a Scream Prize Alert with a code word and hint to a location where he was. If you were the first person to find him and tell him the code word, you would win 1 of 15 Scream Prizes.

Scream Prize Alert on TwitterIn addition Bats Day used twitter to announce a super secret event that would be held on August 24th at Disneyland.  This would be the first time event organizer Noah Korda would use the Scream Prize system and the first use of twitter to connect with Bats Day event goers from Disneyland.  An unannounced Scream Prize alert was sent out with a hint as to where Noah was and how to get the prize.  The concept was a success and was put into full swing at the main event 3 months later.

During the 2008 Bats Day in the Fun Park event on November 9th a total of 15 scream prize alerts were sent out.  Each featured a location hint and a code word.  Prizes were given to those twitter users who followed the directions sent to their phone from twitter and arrived at the location first.  The game was again a success and all 15 prizes were claimed throughout the day.

Scream Prize Alert from Bats Day in the Fun Park 2008

Since then Noah has continued to send out scream prize alerts via Twitter during various visits to Disneyland, all of which are announced on Twitter a few days before he plans to attend.

This is by far the most innovative way I have seen anyone use Twitter and I believe it goes to show just how powerful Twitter can be for your business or any endeavor you might be pursuing.

Are you in real estate? Real estate SEO John Jones recently shared in his Five Twitter Marketing Strategies for Real Estate post  an inovative way to use Twitter through sharing Open Houses.  You could also announce price reductions and new foreclosures to your Twitter followers.

Are you a musician?  Share exclusive content or information with your Twitter followers.  Announce secret shows or release Twitter exclusive songs.

An e-commerce site? Give special discounts and promotions to your Twitter followers.  This not only gives incentive for people to follow you and your business on Twitter, but it gives you a great way to reach out and show an appreciation for those who are following you on Twitter.