I was almost convinced, at the brink of acceptance, and mid nod when three of my co-workers stopped my chin from falling.

After hours of listening to my bosses explain to me the importance of “Twitter” and other social networking outlets such as “Facebook” and “MySpace” they had almost successfully recruited me for their team. I was enthusiastically signing up for a twitter account thinking of all the benefits and connections I was about to become a part of, when one question brought all of it to a screeching halt: What’s your twitter username? This seemingly harmless question, directed to three of my male co-workers, was the start of the end for me. After discovering that none of them had Twitter accounts I was shocked and the sting of betrayal pulsed through my veins. Why would my bosses lie to me? If they weren’t lying then why didn’t people they worked with every day not partake in what my bosses described as invaluable connection making?? Were they just trying to trick me? I was enraged with nothing but a primordial soup filled with feelings of confusion, pain, and anger and I knew that the only thing that would shed any sort of light on the situation was truth. And so my investigation began.

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Facebook allows users to define themselves through its smorgasbord of applications and features: personal photos, virtual gifts and status updates all lend a hand in users efforts to open up and share just about anything going on in their lives. Younger generations, of particularly my own, have come under the Facebook spell and have a tendency to share a huge amount of personal information on sites like Facebook in an effort to open up and connect to the outside world without taking the time to protect themselves. It doesn’t matter whether that info is as mundane and uninspired as what they are eating at the moment or as potentially devastating as an inappropriate picture. Drawing the line and protecting oneself is essential to enjoying Facebook, but how does one go about it?

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twitter-page1 The Twitter Security Dilemma

Your middle name. The first street you grew up on. The name of the first family pet. These are the answers we give to password security questions online without even considering the simplicity of the questions being asked or the availability of the answers to these questions in varied online forums. Everyone does it, from your children to the top people at powerful companies, and thus leaves themselves open to the whims of hackers. Twitter learned this the hard way when a hacker recently gained access to the company’s internal information and employee’s personal accounts through the vulnerability and simplicity of the “forgot password” security question.

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