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Does using Facebook put you at more risk elsewhere on the internet?

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Trust

According to a recent article from the coolcats at Fast Company, “Digital Oxytocin: How Trust Keeps Facebook, Twitter Humming”, the Pew Research Center has shown that the more time you spend on the internet, especially social networks like Facebook and Twitter, the more trusting you become.

Not just on social networks, but everywhere – both online and in real life.

Now, the article is well worth a read, but those of you short on time, here is the gist:

As the report put it, "The typical Internet user is more than twice as likely as others to feel that people can be trusted," with regular Facebook users the most trusting of all. "A Facebook user who uses the site multiple times per day is 43% more likely than other Internet users and more than three times as likely as non-Internet users to feel that most people can be trusted."

With 30% of the world estimated to be online – about 80% of North America and 60% of Europe – and more than half of these users belonging to some social networking site, an increase in trust could have major impacts on how people interact in the future.

Does this mean that social network users will eventually become a bunch of loved-up hippies? It is really difficult for me to imagine what I would be like if I shed my cynical armour.

I shouldn’t really worry: while I study social networks all the time, I am more of a voyeur than a player. Let’s be honest here – I find them really scary.

Many users of social networks seem completely addicted – they are on there all the time, recording every event of their lives. It just seems so intrusive to me…and compulsive. A recent Intel ad unintentionally sums it up well, and I guess I am not tempted to building a “Museum of Me”. MORE

Beware shortcuts for getting more followers on Twitter

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There are various different ways of getting more followers on Twitter.

The easiest method is to be a celebrity. It doesn’t matter if you tweet anything interesting, you’ll probably find a fair number of people will follow you regardless.

Alternatively, you could try to tweet something that people find useful or amusing or informative on a regular basis. If you put in the hours, write great tweets and be yourself then you may find others are happy to follow you and engage with you online.

But if both of those options sound far too tricky, you might be tempted to try the Twitter equivalent to a “get rich quick” scheme in your hunt for more followers.

Take these messages which are currently appearing on Twitter, for instance:

Get more followers tweets

GET MORE FOLLOWERS MY BEST FRIENDS? I WILL FOLLOW YOU BACK IF YOU FOLLOW ME - [LINK]

If you are tempted to click on the link, you will be taken to a webpage which offers you a service that promises hundreds or thousands of new followers. Many different websites exist like this, here’s just two of the sites we have seen being used in the current campaign.

Get more followers webpages

Although the graphics differ, the basic template of the site remains the same – including options to either pay for a VIP plan or try out a free service that promises hundreds of new followers.

I must admit I smelt a rat, and so I created a brand new Twitter account to see what would happen if I tried out the “free trial”.

Get more followers username and password request

Hello hello.. what’s this? The pages ask you to enter your Twitter username and password. That should instantly have you running for the hills – why should a third-party webpage require your Twitter credentials? What are the owners of these webpages planning to do with your username and password? Can they be trusted?

In the bottom right hand corner, they admit that they are not endorsed or affiliated with Twitter.

Now obviously I wasn’t going to handle over the password for my @gcluleyTwitter account, so I entered the login details for the test account I had just created instead.

Before I knew it, I was presented with a familiar Twitter dialog box asking me if I really wanted to grant an application access to my Twitter account.

Get more followers authorise app

Common sense would hopefully tell you to step back at this point, and not allow the app’s authorisation. But if you’re hungry for new followers maybe you would continue, oblivious to the risks.

But sadly, some people are too keen for new followers. And they pay the price in the form of a message promoting the followers service is posted to their feed. In this way, the links can spread rapidly between Twitter users.

Get more followers tweets

What surprised me the most however is that I started to get many more followers on my test Twitter account. Other, seemingly random, Twitter user began to follow my test account in huge swathes and my account began to follow seemingly random people in return.

Although this may seem like a good thing, it isn’t. After all, the rogue app has now made your account follow scores of seemingly random Twitter users – if you have no interest in what they have to say, you’re going to find that pretty irritating.

Blue birdFurthermore, if you’re just playing a numbers game on Twitter you’re fooling no-one but yourself. It doesn’t actually matter how many people in total follow you on Twitter – what’s much more important is how many people arelistening to what you’re saying on Twitter.

It’s no good, for instance, if you have five million Twitter followers but there aren’t actual people sitting behind them, reading what you have to say.

In other words, these “get more followers fast” apps are a waste of time. You’re not interested in what random people are saying on Twitter, so why should random people care about what you have to say?

Furthermore, whose to say that some of these new people who you are following are not cybercriminals, planning to tweet out malicious links or spam messages in your direction?

So, what should you do?

Well, if you fell for the trap and granted the rogue application access to your Twitter account, revoke its rights immediately by going to the Twitter website and visiting Settings/Applications and revoking the offending app’s rights.

Revoke Twitter application

But don’t forget that you entered your username and password on the third-party website too! That means you should consider your password to now be compromised, and you should change it as soon as possible.

Remember – the fact that you gave them your username and password means they could in theory log into your account and read any of the information you store up there – including your email address and your private direct messages.

If you take no action against attacks like this, don’t be surprised if the unknown parties who now have control over your Twitter account use it to commit crimes or cause a nuisance.SRC

Twitter Launches Follow Button for Websites

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Twitter has launched a Follow button, enabling users to subscribe to the Twitter feeds of companies and individuals directly from their websites with a single click.

Previously, website publishers had to redirect users to their respective accounts on Twitter.com before users could opt to follow them. The new feature will likely encourage publishers to increase the number of “follow us” prompts on their sites, because they won’t have to risk redirecting their audiences off-site.

Users will still be able to preview profiles before opting to follow them by clicking the username next to the Follow button.

Those who are interested in adding the button to their own sites can set one up here.

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Users Say They’re More Likely To Buy If A Business Answers Their Question On Twitter

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Currently I am not in Cancun. The reason I am not in Cancun is out of my control (an over three hour Virgin delay on the tarmac at JFK caused me to miss my connecting USAirways flight at SFO). I spent a good part of those three plus plane-trapped hours bitching on Twitter,asking both the @VirginAmerica and @USAirways Twitter accounts for guidance, because calling their respective 800 numbers either put me on hold or wouldn’t go through.

Guess which Twitter account responded? Guess which one I’ll consider purchasing tickets from again. And according to a recent survey of 2049 Twitter users completed by Twitter Q&A search service inboxQ, I am not alone: 64% of the inboxQ survey respondents were more likely to make a purchase from a business account that answered their questions on Twitter, 24% were just as likely and only 12% were less likely.

Another added benefit of answering user questions on Twitter (ARE YOU LISTENING@USAIRWAYS?) is that users are more likely to follow a business that answers their questions, at 59% versus 29% who are just as likely and 12% who are less likely.

The inboxQ survey results are filled with other lovely “well duh” info nuggets like how users with high follower accounts are more likely to receive answers to their questions, at 41% respondents with more than 100 followers receiving an answer from a business versus 21% with less than 100 followers (Maybe brands don’t think its worth the effort? Or maybe the questions from low volume accounts get lost in whatever social media monitoring service businesses are using?).

In any case, pro tip: If you’re a business serious about user engagement on Twitter, go out of your way to sincerely answer sincere questions from users, no matter how many followers they have. They might just end up buying something. Or not hating you.

Brenden Mulligan@bmull
Brenden Mulligan

I specifically this (6 hour) @usairways flight because they advertised it had wifi. But it doesn’t. Boarding for my last @usairways flight!
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Website: twitter.com
Location: San Francisco, California, United States
Founded: March 21, 2006
Funding: $360M

Twitter, founded by Jack DorseyBiz Stone, and Evan Williams in March 2006 (launched publicly in July 2006), is a social networking and micro-blogging… Learn More

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Now You Can See Twitter The Way I See Twitter

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Twitter has just rolled out a nifty little feature. Now on anyone’s profile, when click on the “Following” link, you’ll be able to see exactly how they see Twitter. In other words, you can see the same timeline of tweets that they see when they’re looking at their main feed.

It’s a cool feature that makes sense from a discovery standpoint. If you know I’m a power Twitter user that probably follows a bunch of good people, you can now quickly scan the tweets those people send out and see which ones you want to follow.

This is a similar concept to what News.medoes for news stories. There, you look at a person’s profile and can see the shared links that they see in their Twitter stream. (It’s also worth noting that Twitter actually had this feature back in the day but shut it off a number of years ago.)

The old “Following” option (a list of users another user follows) is still there under the “People” tab. Here, you’ll also find a “You Both Follow” area, which is nice.

It’s important to note that you won’t be able to see protected tweets from users you don’t follow, obviously. Also worth noting: the feature doesn’t show you exactly what I see since I see my own tweets, but Twitter removes those when you look my following stream (makes sense since I’m not actually following myself — though I would, if I could).

The feature is still rolling out, so if you don’t see it just yet, don’t panic. Just wait longer. If you do see it, here’s my following stream.

Update: One more little discovery bonus. If you look at the upper right corner of the following page you’ll see a “shuffle” icon. Hovering over this reveals the option to “jump to someone you follow”. So you can jump between people you follow and find new people to follow from their streams.

http://techcrunch.com/2011/05/26/now-you-can-see-twitter-the-way-i-see-twitter/

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