Twitter Disasters: Five Twitter Mistakes to Avoid
Twitter is a powerful tool, which has galvanized millions, and in doing so has even overturned governments. The power to broadcast our thoughts to millions, instantaneously, is what makes Twitter the social media giant that it is. Unfortunately, Twitter can also be a double-edged sword when used ignorantly, callously, or improperly. The following “disasters” are things which can befall any one of us, and may even cost us some hard earned followers. The old adage rings true here: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
Twitter Disaster 1: Not Properly Securing Your Account at all Times.
One of Twitter’s most glaring strengths- its ability to quickly spread words- is also its most glaring flaw. Twitter users have lost control of their accounts in the past after clicking on innocuous links. This is not to say, that Tweeters should be petrified of clicking on any owly link, but that they should ask themselves some pretty basic questions before doing so. Who is the source of this tweet? Is the information that they are providing worth the risk of clicking on this link?
There are some other basic things that can be done, to avoid having your account hijacked. The first is to lock your phone at all times! This prevents an unwanted user from posting something under your account. It may seem like such a small, simple step, but it may very well deter a prankish friend, or would be thief. Secondly, is to start using the recently released two-step verification process that Twitter has made available to all of its users. It is as easy as four steps.
Step 1: Log on to Twitter at a computer, then go to settings.
Step 2: Check two step verification.
Step 3: Enter phone number in to phone number box; if one has not already been entered.
Step 4: Confirm ownership of the now listed phone by entering the messaged twitter code into appropriate verification box.
This effectively links your twitter account and your phone together. Any time that you decide to use a web-based application, in which you use your Twitter username/password, Twitter will immediately text-message you a six digit code. Once you receive your code you will be able to enter it into a subsequent screen within the given web-app that confirms your ownership of that account. This is admittedly not a 100% fool proof measure, but it may be one that makes all the difference between having your account hacked or not hacked.
Twitter Disaster 2: Following Unsavory People
Twitter just like any society has its fair share of unscrupulous people. These accounts are mostly bots, but they may also be scam artists looking to use you, and your followers for their nefarious purposes. They are sometimes easy to spot, if you use the following three guidelines.
First, ask yourself: Is there a massive gap in the number of people that they follow, and those that follow them? If there is a massive difference, in that they follow more people than follow them, then this may indicate that the account is a spam bot. A second sure fire sign to look out for is, whether they are merely tweeting their own messages, or are they genuinely engaged in a conversation with others. A lack of RT and @messages is the fastest way to identify this potential pitfall. Lastly, do they have a seedy reason for being on Twitter: for example, are they sending out adult content links? Adding these accounts to your following list would be like giving the wolf free access into the henhouse.
Twitter Disaster 3: Not Un-following When Necessary
Tweeting is a constant conversation: some people even tweet as often as every 15 minutes! Having a Twitter following bloated with, inactive accounts or worse spam bots, is like yelling in an empty forest. Sure a sound wave or tweet is created, but no one actually receives the message, meaning that no communication has occurred. You can alleviate this problem by using such tools as Unfollow.me or Tweepi, which continuously cull and separate non-following accounts. These are the people who you follow, but who never follow you back. Separating them from your active follower list ensures that your message will always fall on receptive ears.
Twitter Disaster 4: Unconsciously Tweeting
This is not to say that you will tweet while a sleep or incapacitated, but that you may tweet while not entirely cognizant of your messages impact. Never, ever, tweet while intoxicated, nor while your attention is diverted. A dear friend recounted how he had inadvertently tweeted an anti-Semitic message, when his phone corrected the misspelled word “mew”, which he did not realize in the middle of all the New Year’s Eve excitement. The resulting brouhaha cost him some recently earned credibility with friends and colleagues. His story and countless others can be avoided, by simply tweeting at a time in which our attention is not easily diverted.
The mistakes found in this list of “disasters” can be avoided. Doing so will ensure that Twitter is not only safe, but also a pleasant and even enlightening experience. It should be noted that constant vigilance is the only way to guarantee successful and prolonged tweeting. As always, we would love to hear your thoughts.
Alejandro Sanchez is a freelance writer who enjoys reading and working on his blog during his free time. You may read more of his work here.