The results that stem from Twitter and other social media networking sites include invaluable connections, countless conversations about similar interests, exposure to the public and…crime?
Twitter is one of the fastest growing social media networking websites in the world, recently reaching over 13 million users. It embodies everything people want: it’s quick, fast, and free. With the efficiency of the site also comes the immediate dangers. You’d be surprised how much could go wrong with just 140 characters.
Here are some classic misuses of Twitter:
1) Using full names: You should only use full names if Twitter is a medium for you to network and build social capital and credibility. If you are using Twitter as a social network to friends and family then you should use an alias to protect yourself from malicious viewers.
2) Telling people your location: Advertising your whereabouts throughout the day is an easy way to get followed, stalked, or taken advantage of. Avoid a crowd of people showing up to your home before you do because they were alerted on your Twitter account that you were on your way. There’s no need for you to tell your 1,000 or so Twitter followers every location change that happens to you throughout your day.
3) Exposing information about friends and family: It’s one thing if you choose to take part in the Twitter frenzy, but involving innocent bystanders like your friends and family is irresponsible and foolish. Excited about your nieces graduation in Central Park today at 3? That’s great. Don’t tweet about it. It could endanger the whole ceremony.
4) Telling people your on vacation: People go through great lengths to make it seem as if they are home. They leave lights on, they set the radio to go on at certain times, they may even ask a neighbor to retrieve their mail for them every day. All of this preparation is fruitless if the last thing you do before you go away is tweet about how excited you are for your 10 day trip to Cyprus. Do this and you’ll be robbed so fast you won’t even have time to tweet about it.
5) Carelessly clicking on URL links that show up on your newsfeed: Some of these links can lead you to viral and dangerous sites and spam. The next time you think you’re going to see the “coolest picture ever,” beware because cool is a relative term and can be extremely misleading.
6) Oversharing: While making connections and networking is a vital result from Twitter it is also the most dangerous, and sometimes lethal. Predators don’t only exist on MySpace and online chatrooms- they can sometimes be out in the open, with seemingly reputable names, on Twitter too. Recently, MC Hammer’s cousin, Marvin Turell Grant, was recently convicted for sexual assault of a girl that he met on Twitter.
Twitter is especially dangerous because of how quickly it can be used. People often tweet carelessly, pressing “update” without thinking about who is actually going to be updated. The next time you go to tweet something mentioned on this list, stop- you never know who could be following.