Monday, April 27, 2009

The Dark Side of Twitter

“It's a dangerous business, going out of your door. You step into the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to.” (The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien)

The same could be said of stepping out into the twittersphere.

When I first started to twitter, one of the first people I followed was the CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers, Michael Hyatt. He graciously sent me a direct message: “Thanks for following me. New to Twitter? You might want to read my "Beginner's Guide":

And I’m glad I read it for his fatherly advice.

Point 5 warned that anyone could be listening in my conversation.

Point 7 cautioned care in posting sensitive information, which could compromise my safety.

My previous blog offered evidence that the twittersphere is constantly being monitored. The current twitter interface exposures my recent tweets, my followers, and who I am following to cyberspace. And not everyone listening in is my friend. Yet, the twitter interface has mechanisms to lock data and only grant access to those who have my express permission. Also, Twitter administrators do police and suspend accounts for suspicious activity.

Is this enough?

At the 2009 EntConnect conference, business owners expressed their concern for the protection of their sensitive information. Bill French, the keynote speaker, pointed out that entrepreneurs have stepped up to fill this need with secure twitter-like applications.

Yammer is one of them. It is separate service to secure private information and allow safe collaboration on the web. Its basic service is free to companies. For a nominal fee, Yammer allows upgrades. And you can bet there are more companies out there that supply similar services.

Meanwhile, twitterers, as always, be safe!

Related links:

EntConnect website:


Michael Hyatt links:
Michael Hyatt:
Beginner's Guide:

Bill French links:


  1. You're giving me more excuses for not Twittering, Susan! Someday I might try if my friends keep pressuring me, but I'll be sure to keep it from getting too personal or revealing. I like to keep my private thoughts in a journal, not the Internet.

  2. You are not alone, Bonnie. I heard from business owners who shared similar concerns for privacy. Through Twitter, I have connected to interesting people with like interests and have learned from their micro-blogs. But as always, be viligant.

  3. Great tips here - which can also be applied to Facebook and other social media.