Category Archives: Twitter

Social Media As A Business Tool – First, Engage You Buyers

This guest post is contributed by Grady Winston. Grady is an avid writer and Internet entrepreneur from Indianapolis. He has worked in the fields of technology, business, marketing, and advertising – implementing multiple creative projects and solutions for a range of clients.

imageIs there a better way of getting your brand, product or service out to people? In our ever-expanding world of digital advancement, the ability to find and share content has grown by leaps and bounds. Businesses in the know understand social media isn’t just for teens and college kids anymore.

While businesses are capitalizing on the impact a strong social networking presence can have, there’s still a hard line when it comes to actual interaction.

Many businesses still work on the premise of “if we build it, they will come.” Though this approach may have worked in the past, people aren’t just interested in what you’ve built, but what’s inside. The point of social media isn’t just to keep talking about your company and its services; consumers want to know what makes you tick.

If you’ve made a video that promotes your company, employees or services you provide, consider including a behind-the scenes look at making the video, including a gag reel or bloopers. Marketing data and spreadsheets mean little to the average consumer. Show your customers the heart, soul and human side of the company they choose to support.

“Going viral” is a popular turn of a phrase related to the sharing of pictures and videos across social networks. Thanks in part to sharing, “Gangnam Style” made Korean rapper Psy a sensation in the United States.

Memes are another one of those viral cases, in which something is elevated through the use of pictures or words. Former presidential nominee Mitt Romney had at least two of his awkwardly worded statements turned into viral memes as the 2012 presidential race heated up.

Why did these videos go viral in the first place? The case could be made that Romney was famous, being a former governor and presidential candidate, but Psy was an unknown singer and rapper.

While something to strive for, going viral isn’t just about putting up content for people to find. Anyone can upload a video; the difficulty is in knowing what that content should be and how to attract viewers who ultimately share it. It goes without saying that social media is one of the biggest pushers of content, from Facebook to Twitter to rising star LinkedIn and newcomers like Google+ and Pinterest.

Understanding these platforms is first and foremost the most important thing when trying to get people to your business. Facebook is not Twitter and, despite their perceived boxing match, Google+ is not Facebook. Being on just one social media site isn’t enough; a business needs to be on all platforms that will work towards its business and customers.

Another crucial step is learning about your customers. Many businesses try to market to everyone without regard to their actual consumer base. Why market material of scantily clad women on top of cars when a customer base is mostly women? Or senior citizens? To this end, not only is it important to know your consumer but, know what they will like and most likely share. As the saying goes, “content is king” and, not having interesting and engaging content is a deal breaker for many.

Memes are popular because they make current events humorous. Animal videos, from cute kittens snuggled together to pandas getting wellness checkups, make people happy and more productive. Clearly not all marketing will benefit from the use of a meme or a video of a hedgehog toddling across a countertop, but interesting content spurs people to share with their friends, family and coworkers.

However you market to your customer base, be sure to engage your buyers. Social shares can drive sales and bring great success to a company that invests time in learning its customers’ interests and the kind of media that will make them go “Aww!”

1 Comment

Filed under Business Development, FaceBook, Guest Writers, Interconnectivity, Twitter

Put BitDefender Safego Between You And Facebook, Twitter Scammers

It’s an awesome summer day here, and the sum-sum-summer time lazies have gotten a stranglehold on my motivation to stay connected. Since it won’t be all that long until it’s back to snowstorms and blizzards, today is a day to just hang out, crash in the sunshine – and maybe pour a jar or two – or three.   Smile

So, in order to assuage my guilt somewhat (feeling guilty over disconnecting from the Internet – who knew?), I though I’d rerun a post from August of last year – BitDefender Safego – A Free Social Network Cyber Criminal Defense System – since, it’s as timely now, as it was then.

imageNo matter my own thoughts on Facebook and Twitter (which are not entirely positive), it’s impossible to ignore the impact social networking has had on how we communicate.

It’s hardly surprising then, that Facebook and Twitter, and sites like them, have proven to be the perfect channel for cyber criminals to “communicate” with potential victims.

In the past hour alone, over 25,000 articles dealing with Facebook malware have been posted to the Net – as the following screen capture indicates. Ponder on that – 25,000 articles dealing with Facebook malware in one hour! That number certainly reaches the threshold of what I consider an epidemic.

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Just for a reference point – the “any time” total, using the same search string, is 44 Million results.

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My usual skeptical observation:

You might think, given those numbers, that a typical social network user would take minimum precautions to ensure that their privacy, and computer system security, are protected against compromise by employing a sound safety strategy. But no, typical social network users’ are #####, ********, !!!!!!!!!! , ………… Unfortunately, given that this is a G rated blog, I’ll have to leave the expletives deleted.

Still, for the sake of fairness, I will note – cyber criminal craftiness should not be underestimated. The video below is just one example of how an unaware user can be misled; leading to a perfect storm of malware issues.

Click on the following graphic to play the video.

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There is no perfect safety solution in an open system like Facebook, or Twitter – but, there are steps that can be taken to reduce the likelihood that cyber criminals will successfully disrupt your piece of mind.

A few months ago, Bitdefender released a free application – Safego for Facebook- which has just been updated to offer the same level of protection to Twitter users. If you are a Twitter or Facebook users, I urge you to checkout this free application.

From the Bitdefender site:

Bitdefender Safego for Facebook:

Using in-the-cloud scanning, Bitdefender Safego protects your social network account from all sorts of e-trouble: scams, spam, malware and private data exposure. But, most importantly, Safego keeps your online friends safe and …close.

By installing the BitDefender Safego app, users will receive:

Privacy protection – users are warned when they should modify their Facebook privacy settings so personal information isn’t exposed

Automatic scanning –users simply press the “scan now” button to get a snapshot of their Facebook security status

24/7 protection– Facebook accounts are protected even when users are not logged in to Facebook

Protection for friends – users will have the ability to warn their friends about infected links in their Facebook accounts

Bitdefender Safego for Twitter:

Initially launched for Facebook users, Bitdefender Safego is now ready to protect Twitter accounts as well. Bitdefender Safego uses the Bitdefender antimalware and antiphishing engines to scan URLs in the cloud.

Bitdefender Safego keeps your Twitter account safe by:

Checking unknown users before you follow them
Checking the accounts you are following
Scanning your direct messages for spam, suspicious links or highjacking attempts.

See BitDefender Safego in action on YouTube.

BitDefender Safego dashboard shown below.

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For additional information on BitDefender Safego, please visit the BitDefender Safego app page on Facebook, or the app page on Twitter.

Comments Off on Put BitDefender Safego Between You And Facebook, Twitter Scammers

Filed under BitDefender, Don't Get Scammed, Don't Get Hacked, downloads, FaceBook, Freeware, Malware Protection, Twitter

The Paralegal in You: Protecting Your Privacy from Social Media

imageMore than 800 million people around the world share their photos, their latest activities and their innermost thoughts on Facebook on a daily basis and Twitter has more than 100 million active users. While no one can deny the power of social media to connect people with friends and family and to advance political causes, individuals still need to be wary of their personal privacy when using social media.

The obvious concern for many people is that employers and potential employers can gather information that could hurt their careers. Since employers even tend to discredit applicants with online paralegal certification versus an applicant with certification obtained through a more traditional means, there is no telling how having privy to your social media persona could hurt your chances of securing a job.  Not only should individuals be careful of posting inappropriate party photos online, but they may also need to remember not to post their golf score from the day they called in sick to work.

More troubling for many people is that Facebook and other Internet sites use their searches and posts to create a profile that can then be used by advertisers to direct their appeals to their interests. According to a New York Times article, Facebook says they do not share personal data with advertisers. The Federal Trade Commission, in a settlement in November 2011 with Facebook, now requires Facebook to subject itself to regular privacy audits for the next two decades. Facebook will also need to keep its users informed about how their personal information is shared.

While Facebook says it does not share personal information with them, advertisers have embraced social media as a prime method of reaching potential customers. According to The Washington Post, Facebook earned a profit of $668 million in 2011 and had revenue of $3.7 billion, most of it from ads that target users based on their personal data.

In addition to advertisers and employers, other organizations may be trolling Facebook and Twitter for unprotected information. Police departments and detectives have found suspects through their use of social media. Some experts believe life insurance companies may begin searching social media for information about the habits of insurance applicants to be sure they are not lying about avocations such as sky diving.

Consumers of social media can take steps to protect their privacy, but these steps will not necessarily prevent the storage of personal information about individual’s search habits, online shopping or shared photos. In an article in PC World, several steps are recommended for social media users to protect their privacy. First and foremost, everyone needs to think carefully about the information they share in the context of who may be reading it. Even with privacy settings, it is best to assume that anyone can read anything posted in social media and that the information will stay available forever. Avoiding embarrassing or obnoxious comments should be rule number one for every social media user.

Some users assume that when they post something on Facebook, only their friends will see it. However, if a friend comments on your post, a friend of that friend can often trace back the conversation to the original post. Reviewing and frequently updating the privacy settings on a Facebook account provides a barrier to others easily accessing information, but will not prevent information from leaking out to those who are determined to see it.

Guest Author Bio:

Fiona Causer is currently a student pursuing her bachelor’s degree in Legal Studies.  She enjoys writing and seeks to use it as a vehicle to convey ideas and engage others in discussing relevant issues of our day.

1 Comment

Filed under FaceBook, Guest Writers, Privacy, Twitter

URL Shortening Sites Target Email Weakness

imageSites like Tinyurl.com and Bitly.com are the go-to places for Tweeters who do not want long URLs to eat up their typing space. However, shortened URLs have a second, more insidious use. They allow spammers and hackers past the old email filters and into your inbox.

Most email anti-spam engines were created before the use of embedded URLs in emails, not to mention shortened ones. Most anti-spam programs try to trace back the URL to see if the site is dangerous. However, a shortened URL can be used by hackers two ways.

The first way is simple. They plug the site they want you to get directed to into one of the known and trusted URL shortening sites available for free to the public. Because the URL shortening site is trusted, the link is trusted. However, the link does not take you to the URL shortening site; it takes you where it was originally directed.

Secondly, hackers get even more creative. Once the anti-spam filters get around the URL shortening sites, as some have done, hackers create their own URL shortening sites. Essentially, they shorten a site that’s already shortened. So, when you click on the link, you get redirected not once, but twice. The first redirection is safe, the next is a hackers.

This was “yet another example” of cyber-criminals adopting new technology to bypass traditional security measures, said Bradley Anstis, vice-president of technical strategy at M86.

“A lot of the traditional anti-spam engines were developed before Twitter, so they are not geared up to recognize embedded URLs as seen in blended email threats in spam, let alone shortened URLs that link to malicious, or compromised Web pages,” Anstis said.

Some frightening statistics:

In May 2011, the global ratio of spam in email traffic from new and previously unknown bad sources increased by 2.9 percentage points since April 2011 to 75.8% (1 in 1.32 emails).
The global ratio of email-borne viruses in email traffic from new and previously unknown bad sources was one in 222.3 emails (0.450 percent) in May, a decrease of 0.143 percentage points since April. (From Net-security.org)

So, what can you do to protect yourself? For one, never click on an email link if you do not trust the sender. Two, even if you do trust the sender, try to get to the link organically, meaning follow the normal method. If you are checking on a shipment, go through the main website instead of clicking on the link. These simple tricks will help to keep your computer and information safe from hackers.

Author Bio

This Guest post is by Christine Kane from internet service providers. She is a graduate of Communication and Journalism. She enjoys writing about a wide-variety of subjects for different blogs. She can be reached via email at: Christi.Kane00 @ gmail.com.

Update:

Here’s a super tip from anarchy4ever – “Some people may call me paranoid but I NEVER click on shortened url links. People should use url enlarger sites such as this one:
http://url-enlarger.appspot.com/

Just a personal observation – anarchy4ever is far from being paranoid – sounds like a very sensible solution.

6 Comments

Filed under cybercrime, Email, Guest Writers, Hackers, internet scams, Twitter

BitDefender Safego – A Free Social Network Cyber Criminal Defense System

imageNo matter my own thoughts on Facebook and Twitter (which are not entirely positive), it’s impossible to ignore the impact social networking has had on how we communicate.

It’s hardly surprising then, that Facebook and Twitter, and sites like them, have proven to be the perfect channel for cyber criminals to “communicate” with potential victims.

In the past hour alone, over 25,000 articles dealing with Facebook malware have been posted to the Net – as the following screen capture indicates. Ponder on that – 25,000 articles dealing with Facebook malware in one hour! That number certainly reaches the threshold of what I consider an epidemic.

image

Just for a reference point – the “any time” total, using the same search string, is 44 Million results.

image

My usual skeptical observation:

You might think, given those numbers, that a typical social network user would take minimum precautions to ensure that their privacy, and computer system security, are protected against compromise by employing a sound safety strategy. But no, typical social network users’ are #####, ********, !!!!!!!!!! , ………… Unfortunately, given that this is a G rated blog, I’ll have to leave the expletives deleted.

Still, for the sake of fairness, I will note – cyber criminal craftiness should not be underestimated. The video below is just one example of how an unaware user can be misled; leading to a perfect storm of malware issues.

Click on the following graphic to play the video.

image

There is no perfect safety solution in an open system like Facebook, or Twitter – but, there are steps that can be taken to reduce the likelihood that cyber criminals will successfully disrupt your piece of mind.

A few months ago, Bitdefender released a free application – Safego for Facebook- which has just been updated to offer the same level of protection to Twitter users. If you are a Twitter or Facebook users, I urge you to checkout this free application.

From the Bitdefender site:

Bitdefender Safego for Facebook:

Using in-the-cloud scanning, Bitdefender Safego protects your social network account from all sorts of e-trouble: scams, spam, malware and private data exposure. But, most importantly, Safego keeps your online friends safe and …close.

By installing the BitDefender Safego app, users will receive:

Privacy protection – users are warned when they should modify their Facebook privacy settings so personal information isn’t exposed

Automatic scanning –users simply press the “scan now” button to get a snapshot of their Facebook security status

24/7 protection – Facebook accounts are protected even when users are not logged in to Facebook

Protection for friends – users will have the ability to warn their friends about infected links in their Facebook accounts

Bitdefender Safego for Twitter:

Initially launched for Facebook users, Bitdefender Safego is now ready to protect Twitter accounts as well. Bitdefender Safego uses the Bitdefender antimalware and antiphishing engines to scan URLs in the cloud.

Bitdefender Safego keeps your Twitter account safe by:

Checking unknown users before you follow them
Checking the accounts you are following
Scanning your direct messages for spam, suspicious links or highjacking attempts.

See BitDefender Safego in action on YouTube.

BitDefender Safego dashboard shown below.

image

For additional information on BitDefender Safego, please visit the BitDefender Safego app page on Facebook, or the app page on Twitter.

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

2 Comments

Filed under Anti-Malware Tools, BitDefender, Cyber Criminals, Don't Get Scammed, Don't Get Hacked, FaceBook, Freeware, Interconnectivity, Internet Safety Tools, Malware Protection, Software, Twitter

Catch Your Online Grammar, Spelling, and Style Mistakes, With After The Deadline

imageChurning out two blog posts every day is hard on the eyes – not to mention the back, the wrists – well you get the point. As a consequence – I sometimes find myself looking (with crossed eyes) at words running into words, gross misspellings (easy to correct), or improper word usage (sometimes, not so easy to correct). Your versus you’re, and its versus it’s, for example, can be particularly difficult to pick up when used incorrectly.

Here’s a good example of this – recently pointed out by a reader.

Comment:

“You’re friends won’t – other than to deny that they watch it – or, perhaps to decry it’s prevalence” You’re means You are – so “you are friends won’t” doesn’t make sense, use “Your friends” instead.

“It’s” always means “It is” – so “decry it is presence” doesn’t make sense; use “decry its presence” instead.

Not a big deal, you might be thinking. Maybe not – but as often as not, common errors, particularly punctuation errors, can change the meaning of what you meant to say. I’m sure you’ve seen this example – Let’s eat, Mother. versus – Let’s eat Mother.

I write all my blog articles in open source LibreOffice (with grammar checker turned on), and then copy the articles to Windows Live Writer prior to posting into WordPress.

image

Despite an active grammar checker, proofreading, as time consuming as it can often be, is unavoidable. Still, I’ve learned that proofreading is no guarantee that the odd mistake will not slip through.

There is a partial solution (no technology is perfect), that can help you (and me), avoid the most common grammar mistakes, spelling errors (including contextual spelling errors), and style mistakes, in online interactions – including blog postings, emails (mistakes here can be deadly), Facebook, Twitter, etc.

After the Deadline – developed by the people behind WordPress – is an open source (free), language checker for the Web which is available as:

An add-on for Firefox.

An extension for Google Chrome.

A plugin for Windows Live Writer.

A plugin for self-hosted WordPress blogs.

An extension for OpenOffice.org Writer (still in Beta).

Following installation of After the Deadline on my system as a Firefox add-on, I found it to be reasonably accurate – but not perfect (more on this later). Nevertheless, I’ll keep it on my system – at least in the short term (for the second time).

Installation, in my case, was the usual automatic Firefox add-on install, followed by an easy Options set up as the following screen capture indicates.

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The following screen shots (click to expand) show spelling errors (an unrecognized word), and style recommendations – in a previous post.

image

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The type of recommendation shown in the screen shot directly above (change “terminate” to “end”, or “stop”), is the primary reason I deleted this add-on previously.

Consistently, higher level words were marked down as “complex expressions”. It may be popular to assume that “dumbing down” is in vogue, but not from where I’m sitting.

Fast facts:

Checks Spelling – Spell checker looks at context and uses artificial intelligence to make recommendations.

Detects Misused Words – Most spell checkers assume any word in their dictionary is correct regardless of context. This means all misused word errors go unnoticed.

Checks Style – Style checker has thousands of rules and uses context to choose the best suggestions.

Checks Grammar – The grammar checker in After the Deadline protects you from common writing errors. After the Deadline uses statistics to automatically find exceptions to its grammar rules, making it one of the smartest grammar checkers around.

Explains Errors – The misused word detector, grammar checker, and style checker explain the mistakes and suggestions to you. Click an error and choose the “Explain …” option.

Download at: After the Deadline

After the Deadline checks English, French, German, Portuguese, and Spanish text.

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11 Comments

Filed under Browser add-ons, Chrome Add-ons, downloads, Email, FaceBook, Firefox, Firefox Add-ons, Freeware, Google Chrome, Interconnectivity, Software, Twitter, Windows Tips and Tools, WordPress, Writing

BitDefender TrafficLight – Real-time Anti-virus, Anti-phishing Browser Add-on

imageSurfing the Internet without a site reputation Browser add-on is not much different than stumbling down a set of stairs in the dark – while blindfolded. At a minimum, a risky venture.

As with all applications designed to enhance Internet safety however, site reputation Browser add-ons are not without there shortcomings. One particular issue that raises concern is – reputation add-ons are site specific and not page specific. In other words, the site may have passed the test for safety and yet contain a page, or pages, that harbor threats.

BitDefender’s recently released (March 24, 2011), beta – TrafficLight Browser add-on, attempts to address this page specific issue by utilizing “the BitDefender scanning engines to check, and rate, every page and link from the users’ web traffic, blocking unsafe content before it reaches the user’s browser.” In an effort to cover all the bases, TrafficLight is active in in search engines, and social networking sites (Facebook and Twitter), as well.

Control Panel screen capture.

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Fast facts:

TrafficLight works with virtually any Windows-compatible browser. It even keeps look, feel and functionality consistent if you switch browsers.

TrafficLight intercepts and scans web traffic before it even reaches the browser, effectively blocking disguised or stealth attacks before it’s too late.

TrafficLight scans the pages you visit for malware and phishing attempts each and every time you access them to avoid the threat of legitimate but recently compromised websites.

TrafficLight won’t block an entire website if just some pages within are malicious. Only the potentially harmful elements are blocked, leaving you free to view the rest of the site if you so choose.

TrafficLight relies on intelligence provided by BitDefender Cloud services to flag malware and phishing attempts in search results from Google or Bing. Not only that, but it also checks links in popular social network platforms and blocks them if they are suspect.

TrafficLight does not add a toolbar to your already-cluttered browser interface. Its interface remains invisible until your input is needed or it’s called up with a simple mouse gesture.

Supported Operating systems: Microsoft Windows XP SP2, Windows Vista SP2, Windows 7.

Supported Browsers:
Internet Explorer 7+, Opera, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Safari.

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Download free TrafficLight at: BitDefender

Note: As with all beta, or release candidates, take sensible precautions prior to installation. This should include setting a new restore point.

Additional reading:

WOT Beta for Social Media – Facebook, Twitter Protection And More

Free BufferZone Pro – Maybe The Best Surfing Virtualization Application At Any Price

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12 Comments

Filed under Anti-Malware Tools, BitDefender, Browser add-ons, Browsers, Cyber Crime, Don't Get Hacked, downloads, FaceBook, Free Internet Protection, Freeware, Internet Safety Tools, Malware Protection, Online Safety, Safe Surfing, Software, Spyware - Adware Protection, System Security, Twitter, Windows Tips and Tools