Twitter for beginners

July 12, 2010 4:17:49 PM PDT
Learn how to tweet safely from an expert.

Tips for successful tweets:
By Saul Severe

  1. Avoid cafes and coffee shops: Steer clear of logging into Twitter anywhere with an unsecure connection, as you're at risk of having your account information stolen.

  2. Choose a strong password: A secure password will ensure that your identity will remain safe and uncompromised. People often think they can use short, simple passwords for free services, but there is a huge potential of harm when you leave your social networking profiles open to hackers and spammers.

  3. Be aware of alleged Twitter "partners:" Be mindful of services that put "twitt" or "tweet" in their names and claim to integrate with Twitter. There are safe services that work with Twitter, such as Tweetmeme & Twitpic, but many are corrupt and lure users into entering their Twitter credentials.

  4. Be cautious of direct messages: A majority of all phishing attacks from twitter come through direct messages sent from your friends' accounts that have been hacked. It the message seems odd, don't open it and avoid clicking links within.

  5. Follow twitter.com/spam: This "Spam Watch" handle is powered by Twitter. Twitter monitors the network and provides followers with updates and advice throughout the day about scams that consumers should be aware of.
To start a Twitter account, go to www.twitter.com

Staying safe online:
  1. Parental controls are an important part of staying safe online. They should be openly discussed with children so everyone understands exactly how these services work to shield the entire family from Web dangers. Children don't like to feel as if they're being spied upon.

  2. PCs should be placed in an area where an adult can keep an eye on the monitor, for example, in the living room.

  3. When creating accounts for social online communities like Facebook®, parents/teachers should study each site's privacy features and compile lists of trustworthy individuals with whom children are safe to communicate with online.

  4. Under no circumstance should children meet people they don't know; and if they must, then a parent or a teacher should escort them for safety purposes.

  5. Teach children to always end conversations they find uncomfortable, and how to do so. Should someone on the Web -- even a friend -- make them feel scared, confused, trapped, offended or threatened, make sure they know to find an adult to talk to about what happened, and how to stay safe.

  6. Help children identify e-mails that contain spam, obscene or aggressive messages, and make sure they know to refrain from forwarding these kinds of e-mails or chain messages to friends.

  7. Parents/teachers should regularly search children's names together in a search engine to see what comes up. They may see information such as blogs they may have, communities they're active in, and family background -- this also gives children a sense of how information shared online.

  8. Know the chat lingo, i.e. P911 -- my parents are coming; PA -- parent alert; PAL -- parents are listening; TAW -- teachers are watching. The National Center for Missing Children provides a list (pdf) of such acronyms.

  9. During activities that require PC usage in class, students should be closely supervised. If they suddenly turn off the PC, quickly change windows, or laugh while in groups during lab hours, then teachers should look for inappropriate sites.

  10. Students and children should understand that not everything they see or hear on the Internet is true. Information people give away about themselves is not always trustworthy and ill-intentioned individuals could use a great variety of methods to mislead children and even hurt them.
About Saul Severe:

Saul Severe serves as BitDefender's Global Social Media Manager, whereby he oversees and contributes to the creation and implementation of strategic social media initiatives.

Saul utilizes the social media ecosphere to engage and empower the public at large with BitDefender's unique security solutions. By providing information and developing interactive social communities that teach people about the latest in online security threats and solutions, BitDefender's social media team is able to leverage the social web to improve people's online experience.

Saul has a background in multi-media engineering and network technologies which when coupled with his experience with interactive media and the affiliate marketing space provides him with a unique perspective regarding emerging social media technologies and future trends.


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