Gone Phishing: How to Protect Yourself on Social Networks

According to a recent report by IT security and data protection firm Sophos, companies are reporting  an alarming rise in attacks on users of social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter, by cybercriminals. One form of attack, known as phishing, is up from 21% in April 2009, to 30%, in Dec 2009.

What’s Phishing?

Phishing is an example of social engineering, often accomplished through e-mail, but increasingly also through social networks, like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Through messages that appear to come from well-known and trustworthy Web sites, cybercriminals often trick unsuspecting recipients into providing sensitive information. These messages include links to fraudulent sites, which are set up to look legitimate.

Who Is Most At Risk?

According to SearchSecurity.com, Web sites that are frequently spoofed by phishers include PayPal, eBay, MSN, Yahoo, BestBuy, and America Online. By diverting traffic to fraudulent sites, ComputerWorld’s Dan Tynan explains that phishers “might collect a few pennies from the [fraudulent] site owner for each visitor, or the site could do a drive-by install of malware and absorb your machine into a bot network.” Inadvertently revealing your credentials to a phishing site also puts you at risk for identity theft, or when it happens at work, jeopardizes your company’s information security.

In Boom in URL Shorteners Equals Boom in Malware and Spyware, Andrew Wee reports that the use of shortened URLs on social networks is another way for phishing attacks to increasingly occur.

Enterprising (or dastardly, depending on your point of view) URL shortener marketers have resorted to coupling linkbait-style snippets with links to malware sites. Clicking on a link can send the user to a page where malware, a trojan, or a virus is installed on the user’s computer.

According to Wee, the best (from the phishers’ perspective) and worst (from victims’ perspective) part of the deal is “the user unleashing this worm across their social network might have no idea of the havoc they’ve unleashed. That is, until they receive a torrent of angry wall posts and messages from their former friends.”

How to Stay Safe Online

For ways to avoid phishing and stay safe online, make sure to review the Internet Fraud Tips from the National  Consumers League’s Internet Fraud Watch.

The sections below provide more guidelines from Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, which are especially susceptible to phishing, through the use of URL shortner links. When you click on one of these shortened links, there’s no telling where the destination is.

Personally, I think twice these days, before clicking on links, from untrusted sources, and I rarely retweet a link on Twitter, or post one to Facebook or LinkedIn, without first verifying its destination.

How to Protect Yourself on Twitter

According to the Twitter blog, phishers “send out emails resembling those you might receive from Twitter if you get email notifications of your Direct Messages.”

The email says something like, “hey! check out this funny blog about you…” and provides a link. That link redirects to a site masquerading as the Twitter front page. Look closely at the URL field, if it has another domain besides Twitter but looks exactly like our page, then it’s a fraud and you should not sign in.

If you click the link and give your Twitter password to the phishing site, it’s possible for the phisher to send out direct messages on your behalf which could trick your followers. In these cases, Twitter proactively resets the passwords of the accounts.

So, if you find yourself unable to login to your account with your username and password, please use the reset password link to regain access. This will send an email to the address associated with your account, and you’ll be able to create a new password.

How to Protect Yourself on Facebook

Ryan McGeehan, at the Facebook blog, provides these tips to protect yourself against phishing:

  • Use an up-to-date browser that features an anti-phishing black list. Some examples include Internet Explorer 8 or Firefox 3.0.10.
  • Use unique logins and passwords for each of the websites you use.
  • Check to see that you’re logging in from a legitimate Facebook page with the facebook.com domain.
  • Be cautious of any message, post or link you find on Facebook that looks suspicious or requires an additional login.
  • Become a fan of the Facebook Security Page for more updates on new threats as well as helpful information on how to protect yourself online.

How to Protect Yourself on LinkedIn

At the LinkedIn blog, Mario Sundar provides these basic member security and privacy guidelines to keep you safe:

  • Review your current LinkedIn Account & Settings. From there you can identify what information you’ve set that is private (only to your connections) and what is public.
  • Connect with only those you know and would trust because these are the people you will seek advice from and request a recommendation about your quality of work.
  • Keep your password secure and log out of your account when you are done (especially if you’re accessing your account from a public computer).
  • Always have at least one other email address assigned to your account should you lose access to the primary email address.
  • Ensure your computer’s security software is up to date.
  • Most importantly, don’t click on a link you don’t trust. (If it feels suspicious…it probably is.)

Related Links

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Links of Note, Fall 2009: Guidelines for a Social Media Policy

The following links describe how to establish a social media policy, at your company or nonprofit organization. They also provide examples of successful social media policies, such as IBM’s Social Computing Guidelines: Blogs, Wikis, Social Networks, Virtual Worlds, and Social Media, and the American Red Cross Social Media Guidelines, which are often cited as models. I plan to  annotate this post, or write a more detailed follow-up post, after I better review these examples and guidelines.

In the meantime, here’s a great place to get started, ensuring that your employees understand their responsibilities, when using social media. As employees, these resources will help you better understand how to best protect your company, and just as importantly, how to protect your own personal and professional interests, when embarking in the world of social media.

Do you use social media during your work day, or as part of your job? Does your company have a social media policy in place? What’s working? What issues most concern your employers? What minimum guidelines do you advise?

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Contacting the Author: Content for a Convergent World – Peg Mulligan’s Blog


Twitter: Not Just for Conversation (also about Listening, Broadcasting, & Learning)

Summary: Twitter? Conversation, Broadcast, or Learning Platform? or all of the above? Based on a post by Brian Solis, this post explores whether Twitter is a conversation or broadcast platform. It also reflects on Mark Drapeau’s suggestion that Twitter is a knowledge-sharing/creation platform, more like a wiki, rather than a true social networking platform.

In a recent post, Brian Solis asks, Is Twitter a Conversation or Broadcast Platform? He answers his own question, ultimately stating, “Perhaps it’s both.” He interjects that it’s also “a listening platform – for the majority of users who use Twitter to garner insight and information, without necessarily sharing updates on their account.” Solis’ views correspond to a MarketingProfs’ study, which concludes:

“Twitter may be used as just another lead-generation tool. Or it may be about connecting with new friends. But above all, people on Twitter are truly motivated by learning new things and getting information real-time, as it’s developing.”

Twitter as a Listening Platform

As a TechCrunch post notes, “1/4 of all Twitter accounts are not following anybody and more than 1/3 have not posted a single Tweet.”  Forrester’s 2008 Technographics data similarly reports “a vast majority of people are merely spectators with less than one quarter actively publishing any content anywhere.”

A recent Harvard Business School report further observes that Twitter’s usage patterns are “very different from a typical on-line social network.”

A typical Twitter user contributes very rarely. Among Twitter users, the median number of lifetime tweets per user is one. This translates into over half of Twitter users tweeting less than once every 74 days.

Whether a user actively contributes content to Twitter or not, it remains a powerful listening platform. Just check search.twitter.com to identify keywords that are relevant to your business. You can also use Twitter to identify trending topics. In Listening with Twitter: The Most Important Listening Tool in the Marketing 2.0 Arsenal, Jessica Bennett describes Twitter as a way “to listen to customers, prospects, competitors and influencers, removing much of the guesswork and tediousness from the process,” in a way that can be replicated across all disciplines in a customer-centric organization.

Twitter as a Broadcasting Platform

According to Solis, “statistical exploration indicates Twitter is growing in prominence. But, perhaps its importance, at this moment in time, is more closely aligned with a powerful, new, and seemingly engaging one-way broadcasting ecosystem rather than a two-way dialogue channel we initially suspected.”

Solis cites a recent Harvard Business Report, which states a small contingent of users are the most active on Twitter. According to the report, “Twitter’s resembles more of a one-way, one-to-many publishing service more than a two-way, peer-to-peer communication network.”

Specifically, the top 10% of prolific Twitter users accounted for over 90% of tweets. On a typical online social network, the top 10% of users account for 30% of all production. To put Twitter in perspective, consider an unlikely analogue – Wikipedia. There, the top 15% of the most prolific editors account for 90% of Wikipedia’s edits. In other words, the pattern of contributions on Twitter is more concentrated among the few top users than is the case on Wikipedia, even though Wikipedia is clearly not a communications tool.

In a comment to Solis’ post, Mark D. Drapeau mentions Clay Shirky’s description of Wikipedia as “co-creation without collaboration.” “There,” according to Drapeau, “as with Twitter, very few people are responsible for the overwhelming majority of content development.” Drapeau continues to compare Twitter to Wikipedia:

While a wiki and microsharing are different, on Twitter maybe the 10% of people that contribute 90% of the tweets can be thought of as subject-matter experts who would write an entire Wikipedia page. Sure, some edits are made, some discussion ensues, but they are the “knowledge broadcasters” and the other 90% of people are the gardeners and readers. And there’s nothing wrong with any of that. In theory, everyone is getting something out of the complex system.”

For another view of Twitter as an emerging broadcast platform, see the recent TechCrunch post, which reports that for many people, Twitter has replaced RSS readers. TechCrunch posts links to their Twitter account, which spread virally, as followers retweet those links. According to TechCrunch, “retweets are becoming a new type of link currency. We are big believers in retweets (in fact, there is now a retweet button at the bottom of every post).”

For us, and I’d argue increasingly for other large Websites as well, Twitter is not just about micro-media. The most powerful Tweets are those which point elsewhere. Or to put it another way, the shortened link may just be the most powerful type of micro-media there is. Those retweeted links are turning Twitter into a social broadcast media that rivals any other on the Web.

In the same vein, Cambridge-based HubSpot reports that over the last three months, “Twitter was the third-most significant source of traffic for its blog, referring almost $30,000 worth of traffic. ($30,000 is what [HubSpot] would have had to pay to buy a similar volume of traffic from Google via Pay-Per-Click ads.)”

Twitter as a Knowledge-Sharing & Co-Creation Platform

In Twitter is Not a Conversational Platform, Mark Drapeau argues further that “the underlying mechanics of Twitter more closely resemble the knowledge co-creation seen in wikis than the dynamics seen with conversational tools, like instant messaging and interactions within online social networks.” He again dismisses the idea that Twitter is collaborative, for the same reasons Wikipedia is not collaborative:

Wikis are causally thought of as platforms for “collaborative” document creation. But on Wikipedia, while many people share knowledge to co-create pages, the process is not formally collaborative in the sense that contributors are not cooperating with each other [in] ways that form group identity (to paraphrase Clay Shirky from his book Here Comes Everybody). To the contrary, passionate experts write the majority of text, and a long tail of other contributors offer relatively few, small edits. Many users contribute nothing. Through this process, Wikipedia pages often become valuable repositories of knowledge.

Drapeau further likens Twitter to Wikipedia, noting that though social relationships may form on either platform as a consequence of sharing content (for example, through direct messaging on Twitter and discussion pages on Wikipedia), “social relationships on Wikipedia and Twitter are not a prerequisite for satisfaction and success.” For instance, Drapeau explains, “the popular and useful account @BreakingNews has hundreds of thousands of followers but participate in effectively zero engagement. There are many Twitter users who contribute large amounts of useful information and engage in relatively little conversation. And it is not common for people to describe Wikipedia as a social network.”


To those who suggest “you must absolutely establish a Twitter account and commence the process of responding to everyone who Tweets about your company, market, or competition,” Solis responds, “…the more I observe interaction on social networks, and in this case Twitter, I believe that sometimes it’s effective to also maintain a presence simply by reading, listening, and sharing relevant and timely information without yet having to directly respond to each and every tweet – perhaps replying to only the critical or influential individuals that may need immediate information or direction to steer strategic activity.”

Concerning a recent Nielsen report that cast doubts on Twitter’s longevity, Mark Drapeau suggests that if Twitter is a knowledge-sharing/creation platform, rather than a true social networking platform, then its low user retention rate (just 40%) may not matter so much, especially “if the majority of use is infrequent spectating (particularly when the information is archived for asynchronous retrieval).” Drapeau again cites Clay Shirky to reinforce this point: “such an imbalance of contribution is not a condition of failure for the platform or its users.”

Meanwhile, on Brian Solis’ post, Miguel wisely notes in the comments: “Twitter will become what we make of it. Why can’t Twitter be a product of both – conversation and broadcast? Why does it have to one or the other?” As Rick Burnes makes clear in the HubSpot post “referral traffic doesn’t happen without work”—work that involves both engagement and broadcasting. He aptly observes, “You can’t buy $30,000 worth of visitors from Twitter. You have to build a network, engage with that network, then share your quality content with that network. And even if you do that, you won’t see returns overnight. But if you put in the time, make Twitter a part of your daily diet and engage with your network, Twitter will help keep your marketing strong.”

Phillip Baker’s comment on Brian Solis’ post nicely wraps up this “What is Twitter?”: Conversation versus Broadcasting” debate: “It’s like trying to define what a telephone is for – is it for chatting with friends, finding out information, shopping, banking, networking, sales? It’s used for all of the above.”

About This Blog: Copyright Information

Contacting the Author: Content for a Convergent World – Peg Mulligan’s Blog

What does Conversation (on Twitter) Mean to You?

I have been thinking a lot about my Twitter usage this past week, especially since my last post, Twitter Isn’t a Conversation. Since writing that post, I’ve been trying to clarify my own thoughts, by reading others’ posts about Twitter, and its conversational value for them. I should have called my last post, “Twitter isn’t a Conversation (for Me)” because the platform clearly is conversational, for a lot of other people.

Why Twitter is a conversation to some, and not to me, really lies in how we define conversation, and our objectives for being on Twitter, in the first place. In the post, What Level of Conversation Is Twitter?, Jeff Milone describes five levels of conversation:

  • The Weather: Passing conversation. Small talk. Can be amusing or entertaining, but rarely very interesting.”
  • Let’s Talk About “Blank”: The lawn needs to be mowed. This project is due on this date. I find this interesting. Conversation, but no real insight.”
  • Energetic: Conversations with people with whom you easily align yourself. Spirited agreements or disagreements.”
  • Kitchen Table: Meaningful talk about life, love, work, etc. Serious decisions are made.”
  • Deep Conversation: You’re out camping with your closest friends. You’re all around a campfire at 2AM talking about the meaning of life. Rare.”

Passing Conversation

For Jeff Milone, most Twitter usage falls somewhere in between “The Weather” and “Topical Conversation.” My six months on the platform confirm that the 140 character limit supports passing conversation most of the time. Microblogging and small talk go hand in hand, by virtue of the platform’s structure. On a personal level, Twitter is not going to appeal to people who don’t like small talk, or just aren’t very good at repartee (the kind of small talk that works best on Twitter).

This is not to say small talk is bad—small talk is often the first entrance into someone’s orbit. Think about how many of our professional and personal relationships or conversations started there. Small talk can lead to big talk, or at least to more traffic to your web or blog site, where you can develop your ideas. (In this case, small talk serves as a subtle headline to your site.)

Small talk (via status updates, banter, quick responses to each others’ links, etc.) is also a way to loosely stay in touch with people who interest us, whether for professional or personal reasons.

In a Wall Street Journal post that examines whether digital small talk is as effective as in-person small talk, Julia Angwin notes that unlike its formal American Heritage Dictionary definition as ‘trivial or casual’ conversation, small talk is actually serious business:

Small talk is a form of social insurance, explains John T. Cacioppo, the director of the Center for Cognitive and Social Neuroscience at the University of Chicago. “If I’m going to need to rely on you, then if we stay in touch on meaningless things, we can eventually work effectively together,” he says. “It’s like team practice – a basketball team has to practice together to win.”

Then again, a lot of small talk stays small talk, and a steady diet of small talk, recorded by Google for all to see, isn’t going to appeal to everyone long-term (probably boils down to, again, your objectives for using Twitter, the ol’ introvert versus extrovert thing, as well as how the industry you work in would judge your participation in public small talk).

Topical Conversation

Milone defines the next level of conversation on Twitter as Let’s Talk About “Blank”–the topical conversation. I think this level of conversation is where Twitter has the most potential, as a place to listen (see Twitter Isn’t About Conversation – It’s About Forming Groups) and more ambitiously as a way to develop dialogue and build community. Through the use of hashtags, Twitter users can tweet on predefined topics in a structured way, which allows participants to contribute in real-time and to find others with similar interests. I’ve participated in lots of webinars and one conference, using hashtags in this way, and the cumulative content and ability to easily find and engage with others who are interested in the same topic has additional value as a way to monitor and understand trends. Others can also continue adding to the hash-tagged content, long after the event has passed.

I’ve also seen community managers on Twitter build followings of like-minded individuals, tweeting on a given topic, on a particular day or night of the week, at a certain time. Community managers can later group together the various participants’ tweets in a follow-up blog post, inviting more substantive discussion of the topic. (What a great forum for audience analysis, focus groups, product development, and customer support.)

For me, this is the conversational aspect of Twitter which has the most business potential (See Econsultancy’s post, Twitter: the 13 types of tweet to take notice of.) It’s worth pointing out, however, that public conversation (the permanent, searchable record of tagged tweets on a certain topic) is still a different beast than what we ordinarily think of as conversation. (For one thing, the conversation keeps going, after most of the original participants have left, and when no one at that particular moment may be listening.) To me, this kind of behavior resembles the knowledge co-creation that Mark Drapeau describes in his post, Twitter is Not a Conversational Platform, but rather a knowledge-building platform, similar to a wiki.

Energetic Conversation

Here, Milone defines energetic conversation, “as spirited agreements or disagreements.” I have seen some Twitter heavy-hitters, usually also noteworthy in the blogosphere (people who often know each other offline) occasionally express different opinions, and go back and forth effectively and engagingly, in the spirit of healthy debate. In general, though, I don’t think the medium can accommodate that kind of nuanced discussion. In the post, You Will Be Misunderstood, Seth Godin points out that even in his blog posts, he is often misunderstood, and needs to clarify his thoughts, in subsequent posts. How much more difficult, Godin suggests, is it to clearly expresss our weightier opinions in 140 characters, without being misunderstood or having our ideas taken out of context? I see Twitter as having limited, direct conversational potential here, except, and this is an important exception, to start or point to a conversation that occurs some place other than Twitter (see Twitter Fails to Replace Conversation in Blog Commenting).

Kitchen Table and Deep Conversation

Twitter is like a telephone and can pass along kitchen table and deep conversation topics as well as more everyday topics, though I am  not inclined myself to share much personal information that way. The 140 character limit doesn’t easily accommodate that level of engagement, though if you follow someone long enough, you regardless begin to get glimpses of what that person values or thinks, inevitably through the content they share. It’s still wise to bear in mind that at least half of people in a recent poll (see Is There Still A Personal/Professional Line?) report that they act differently online compared to offline, often projecting a more professional persona online than they do in person. Here are some of the results from Dave Fleet’s poll:

  • “I am careful with networks that are open and searchable (Twitter, e.g.) to not say anything that might hinder me in the future.”
  • “I pride myself on staying true to my beliefs, but I will change what I say and how I say it depending on the group I’m in.”
  • “I try to keep it industry related as I’m trying to learn as much as I can from all of the PR professionals that I’m fortunate to have access to.”
  • “Regardless of the medium, I always assume my professional contacts may come across what I say and how I behave online.”
  • “I definitely act more professional online than I do in my everyday life.”
  • “Personally I am very different online than offline. It’s not that I’m a bad person or anything offline, I’m just less colorful when I’m online.”

If this poll is representative, it would seem that at least half of people would not share at the “Kitchen Table” or “Deep Conversation” level on Twitter, choosing instead to project a professional persona, or a more sanitized version of themselves, which leaves out more personal or soulful topics. (See How Are You? No, How Are You Really?)


Twitter is a conversational platform, but it supports different levels of conversation. It’s important to be clear about what those levels of conversation are, the difference between a personal conversation, and a permanent, searchable public conversation, as well as your own objectives and personal boundaries, when you start using the tool. A recent Harvard School Business study indicates that for the vast majority of Twitter accounts, “conversation” may mean listening most of the time. Most other times, according to Jeff Milone’s post, conversation on Twitter means casual conversation, or more topical conversation.

A lot of people (at least half, according to Fleet’s poll) present themselves more professionally online than in person, which is a factor to consider when deciding at what conversational level to engage with your followers on Twitter, who you want to engage with, and what you want to talk about.

Also worth noting is Brian Solis’ post, Is Twitter a Conversation or Broadcast Platform?, which asks whether Twitter is as much a broadcast platform as the conversational platform that it is often noted to be. In Twitter is Not a Conversational Platform, O’Reilley Radar’s Mark Drapeau proposes that the public conversation on Twitter “more closely resemble[s] the knowledge co-creation seen in wikis than the dynamics seen with conversational tools like instant messaging and interactions within online social networks.”

I’ll pick up with Solis and Drapeau’s ideas in my next post. Until then, are your online and offline personas the same? Is Twitter mainly a conversational platform? What other uses do you find for Twitter? What does conversation mean to you?

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Contacting the Author: Content for a Convergent World – Peg Mulligan’s Blog


Twitter isn’t a Conversation.

I was at the beach the other day with my kids, during a camping expedition to a local island, in our twenty-something-year-old, used motor home. (Hubby was working and couldn’t join us until evening.) I had stocked up on all my creature beach comforts, including my iPod and cooking magazines, and except for an occasional dip in the ocean with the kids, I was prepared to pretty much relax and zone out by myself for awhile—a welcome thing.

A New Playmate

To no avail, I was trying to get the kids to eat up the grapes which I had brought along for this venture (two varieties, no less), and which were getting hot in the sun, when a little six-year-old girl joined us, looking very eager to help relieve me of my surplus fruit. I asked her mom nearby (later, this pleasant woman turned out to be the little girl’s very youthful-looking, early-fifties-something grandmother), if it would be ok if the girl shared some of the grapes with us. The woman seemed appreciative and said “Sure.” After finishing the grapes, the little girl continued hanging about our beach blanket, especially when I was passing out juice boxes. So, with the grandmother’s permission, the girl joined us for a cold drink, too, and in no time at all, was sharing beach pails and shovels with my kids.

Stranded Grandma and the Reluctant Good Samaritan

The girl’s grandmother quickly explained that her boyfriend was scuba diving in the outlying harbor and had dropped her and the granddaughter (who was getting very bored at sea) off on the island, while he and his five companions continued to dive for lobster. “Cool,” I said. “Well, we didn’t really pack that well,” the lady replied, as she and her granddaughter hopped off at the boat landing rather impromptu, thinking that the guys would have finished up by now. Ah, I finally understood…They were stranded on the island, until the boyfriend came back. And the little girl didn’t have any beach toys to play with. The woman seemed a bit embarrassed. “I left most of what I should have brought, back on the boat,” she said.

I could totally relate. When my kids were really small, I was never one of those Moms, with the well-stocked diaper bag, who could readily pull out whatever might be needed, at a moment’s notice–an extra change of clothes, a snack, a juice box, the perfect-sized band-aid, why even double A batteries…No one would ever accuse me of being that organized. One of the main reasons I bought a 34-foot motor home, afterall, was so I could stop worrying about packing my beach bag.

As if to justify my investment, I was happy to help out the grandmother and little girl. I went back to the trailer, bringing back sundry treats: watermelon, whoopie pies, and drinks. The woman laughed at the contradiction of the snack I offered her: whoopie pie and diet coke. That she noticed the contradiction so quickly struck me—why, this woman sort of gets me, I thought, with some surprise.

She moved her blanket closer to my beach chair, and we chatted casually about all manner of things, while our respective kids played together in the sand, punctuated by quick dips, in to the unseasonably cool July waters.

I remembered my magazines and iPod, a few times, a bit ruefully at first, but the conversaton and laughs came so easly, I really didn’t mind, and soon started to enjoy the company. When her boyfriend and the other divers finally came back ashore, the kids were hugging each other goodbye, and the woman offered me lobsters from the scuba expedition. “Thank you for the food and conversation,” she said quite simply.

The Lost Art of Conversation

“Thank you for the food and conversation.” That’s something you don’t hear so often, these days. I’ve turned the phrase over in my mind, a few times since that day, wondering why it made such an impression on me. “Thank you for the food and conversation.” Lately, I’ve heard so much about conversation, in the context of social media, especially Twitter. This was the first time in awhile that I heard the word “conversation” applied the old-fashioned way.

There was something about the random conversation with the stranded grandmother that reminded me of how rare it is that we truly connect, even for a short time, so effortlessly, with someone outside our immediate circle. And how much of an impression it makes on us, when someone gives us attention in that way, when it’s not required. When all the stars align right, and you just click with someone, and enjoy talking about everything and nothing, and feel a bit sad when the conversation ends. How rarer still, it is to connect in such a way with a stranger. And how as much as the online worlds try to replicate this experience, and sometimes come close, it’s still no substitute for connecting in person. And that in whatever ways tweeting is similar to conversation, it’s just not the same thing.

What Twitter Is and Isn’t (For Me)

Twitter—a useful communication platform to share and receive links, news, facts, and quotes—a way to listen in real-time, identify trends, network, announce, promote, acquaint, inform, stay loosely in touch with those who have opted in with us (especially through direct replies), and to answer or ask the most straightforward questions. Yes, Twitter is quite valuable in all these ways. But anyone who tells you Twitter is all about conversation, is speaking of the exception to the rule—more often with a very narrow view of conversation, or well, a lot of times, just trying to sell you something. At its best, Twitter points to, or can start a conversation, which invariably leads to somewhere else (for example, the give-and-take of blog commenting, or group discussions on LinkedIn, or interacting on Facebook…These are much more like my idea of conversation.) But Twitter sound-bytes, as genuine conversation? No.

About This Blog: Copyright Information

Contacting the Author: Content for a Convergent World – Peg Mulligan’s Blog

Links of Note, May 2009: Social Media 100

Social Media 100

Chris Brogan’s Social Media 100 Series:
President of New Marketing Labs, social media guru Chris Brogan is exceptionally generous with his helpful tips and encouragement for beginner bloggers, at his own highly successful blog.

I haven’t even begun yet to plumb the depths of Brogan’s 100 posts on getting started in social media, but I look forward to “schooling myself” on social media, through this series. I suspect just about everything one might need to know is at least introduced, and then some, in these hit-the-deck-running posts, archived from last summer.

Mack Collier’s Social Media Library:
Mack Collier is a social media consultant, trainer and speaker, with a ‘homebase’ at The Viral Garden. “He is also a frequent contributor to the website Marketing Profs, as well as the marketing blog Daily Fix, and small business blog Search Engine Guide.” Here are some of the social media subjects in Collier’s extensive social media library, which represent some of his best posts, over the last four years, including regular updates: Blogging 101, Social Media Case Studies, Social Media Monitoring, and Twitter 101.

Christine (C.B.) Whittemore’s The Entire Bridging New and Old Social Media Series:
In a marketing blog about improving customer experience, particularly in flooring, Christine Whittemore hosts a social media series, interviewing members of the Digital Marketing community, who make key recommendations for bridging new and old media.

(For my own recent contribution to C.B.’s series, check out Social Media Series: Peg Mulligan on Bridging New & Old.)

13 Essential Social-Media ‘Listening Tools’:
In an excellent how-to article from MarketingProfs, Clay McDaniel (principal and co-founder of the Spring Creek Group) describes 13 essential social media ‘listening tools,’ including Google Alerts and Technorati. In addition, McDaniel discusses other helpful, lesser-known tools. If you are trying to convince the boss about the value of social media, exploring these listening tools and finding out exactly what others are already saying about your brand is a good place to start.

Seven Social Media Mindset Markers:
In a MarketingProfs Daily Fix post, social media handyman Paul Chaney, Internet Marketing Director of Bizzuka, describes seven key characteristics that are part of the social media mindset. This mindset should come before selecting social media tools, to ensure that your tools choices make the most business and relational sense.

My favorite characteristic is #5 the “Web is now more about ‘shared connections’ than ‘siloed destinations.'” Several times this month, I have heard on Twitter and in various webinars, that eventually the spokes of a company’s online presence (that is, its social media connections) will become more important than the company’s online hub (its corporate web site).

Steve Woodruff’s Getting Started: Social Networking:
Steve Woodruff leads StickyFigure, a division of Impactiviti LLC. His 15 page e-booklet includes the “What” and “Why” of social networking, as well as the “How,” in a practical step-by-step way. Plus, Steve provides a bonus Appendix, with a worksheet to help you define your “personal brand” and refine your message. For pharmaceutical professionals, Steve (who led sales, marketing, and business development efforts for two decades in the healthcare field) provides a special Appendix of resources.

Twitter: the 13 types of tweet to take notice of:
Econsultancy describes tweets that support Customer Service, Product Development, Usability, Business Development, and other cross-disciplinary functions, including marketing. This post is simply one of the best I’ve read, on ways social media, in particular Twitter, can enhance all business functions, including “listening, talking, energizing, supporting, and embracing” the groundswell (see Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff’s BusinessWeek Bestseller, Groundswell, p 69).

Why we tweet:
Paul Chaney, Internet marketing director for Bizzuka and member of the SmartBrief on Social Media Advisory Board, reports the results of a recent poll, which indicates “Twitter [may] tend to appeal to news junkies.” Other notable results from the “Why we tweet” poll include “the extremely low percentage of people/companies using it for customer service” and “the markedly high percentage of those that use it for staying on top of news and trends.”

Why FriendFeed is the New Must Have in your Social Media Toolbox:
Debbie Weil, author of The Corporate Blogging Book, notes that since FriendFeed announced a redesign of its site a couple weeks ago, she has noticed a significant uptick of FriendFeed subscribers. She offers several explanations for FriendFeed’s increasing popularity, including its main feature as a real-time aggregator of all your social networking accounts. She speculates that it may be the next “new thing” in the social media toolbox. In the comments, she also briefly discusses FriendFeed versus Plaxo.

3 Things You Should Know Before Starting A Blog:
In Conversation Agent, recognized among the world’s top online marketing blogs, Valeria Maltoni provides “some of the less frequently thought-about and more useful things you should know before starting a blog.” She mentions that when you start to blog, you will probably experiment with a lot of formats and content ideas. Over time, your blog is likely to evolve in a specific direction. Valerie also provides lesser-known objectives for blogging, including “using your blog as a sort of library of interesting things to think about.”

Recent or Soon-To-Be-Released Social Media Books