Did You See This Funny Video of You?

I love Twitter.  No, I’m not a power user.  Some days I’m a lurker.  Some days I’m a re-tweeter.  Some days I’m a link sharer.  And some days I actually write something.  Not profound, mind you, but something from my thoughts.

I like Twitter for a number of reasons.  First, its quick.  There are no massive readings unless I want to click through to an article and spend some time there.  You can’t say a lot in 140 characters.  And yet, I’ve found you can say a lot in 140 characters.

Second, I love hashtags.  In fact, I’ll give a shameless plug here for the #DENChat that happens every Thursday from 8 to 9 PM ET.  Check it out!  Using hashtags I can easily follow a number of different conversations.  Most of the ones I check out are education related.  And the vast majority of those are conference specific.

Third, I can engage with a broad range of people from all over the world.  Or not.  My account is open.  In other words, anyone can find me, send me messages, or follow me without me having to approve them.  Each time someone follows me, I look at their profile and the tweets they send.  If they fit a niche I am interested in (education generally, photography, STEM, photography, teaching English, photography), then I’ll follow them back.  And the conversation begins.  If they are not interesting to me, I let them follow me all they want, but I don’t follow back.

And it is in this third realm that I thought about this post today.  I got an email from one of our students last night.  We are in a 1:1 iPad school.  Our students have them 24/7/365.  This student has a Twitter account, and she clicked a link….  Most of you know where this went.

I was looking up something about trying to figure out something about my twitter account and I clicked on a website and it brought me to it successfully but then it randomly redirected me to a website I am not supposed to be on. It was a really bad one to [sic]. I am worried that I will get in trouble because of it, I never clicked on it soon as it brought me to the website I clicked out of it as soon as a could. It just happened, I have never seen it do that before.

When I first came to Twitter, this happened to me.  More than once actually.  I got tired of the game and set my account to private.  Things got better.  Then I realized my Tweets were only reaching about 35 people.  So I opened my account back up and learned to use Twitter more effectively.  Safely.

Have you received a Direct Message (DM) that says something like, “You should see this funny video of you someone posted…” or, “I didn’t know you did this!…”  In four words, let me give you some advice.  Do Not Click This.  Pretty simple, huh?

I’ll be giving some tutorials to students about their Twitter and Facebook accounts in order to help keep our kids safe online.  In the meantime, I started following @spam and @safety on Twitter.  I even created a list for Twitter Safety and put these two accounts in it.  Now I can access safety tips and procedures quickly and easily.  With a click or two.

Will my account still get attacked?  Yep.  Will I fall prey to one of these attacks?  Maybe.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve clicked the wrong thing with my thumb on my iPhone in an app.  Do I feel safer?  Definitely.

Do you need some extra help keeping your Twitter account safe?  Take a look at this blog post from Twitter.  And we’ll see you on Thursday at #DENChat where every Tweet is safe and informative.

Comments

  1. Lee Kolbert

    Great advice, Tim. I know there are many people who have been fooled by phishers and other scammers, which led them to a site they would not have gone to on their own. When using a school district or company owned device, most people are well aware that websites are tracked. If they are not aware of this, let this serve as a PSA. Pretty soon panic ensues when we are confronted with the thoughts that we may get reprimanded (or humiliated) for visiting inappropriate websites. IT security policies must remain flexible and allow security personnel to use their judgment before indiscriminately targeting users who inadvertently clicked on links. I’m sure this is happening because so many people would be in trouble, otherwise.

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