Twitter Security Risks
By Will Conley
On Twitter, you can instantly share anything and everything you might think to share about yourself. When you really start getting into Twitter, you will begin to trust it -- perhaps a little too much. You have to remember that just because we live in the Age of Social Media and everybody seems to be blithely sharing every last detail about their private lives, you do not have to join in and potentially put your security at risk.
Personal Security Risks
When tweeting about your location, you are risking your personal security. The proliferation of location-sharing Twitter apps like Foursquare and Facebook Places, and the Twitter "Add Your Location" feature, make it all too easy to share your current whereabouts. Location sharing allows your friends and family and like-minded people to meet up with you in your vicinity, but the information is also accessible to millions of other users, some of whom could pose a threat. Think before tweeting your location. Additionally, you may want to consider removing your hometown from your Twitter bio; the more information you share, the higher the risk.
Financial Security Risks
Information such as your maiden name, mother's maiden name, Social Security number, birthplace, current address, passwords and other vital statistics about your identity should be kept off the table on Twitter. Even if your profile is set to private, someone who you let follow you can still copy and paste that information elsewhere on the Internet. In the wrong hands, in the right combination, that information can be used to drain your bank accounts and ruin your credit.
Job Security Risks
What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. What happens on Twitter, makes 10 trips around the planet before you can say, "But you can't fire me, I quit!" Do not badmouth your boss, coworkers or company as a whole. If you have nothing good to say about them, tweet about other topics. Blowing off steam and otherwise letting it all hang out is for other, more private venues. Even if you use a false identity when tweeting, people who know you could still identify you in context.
The Security of Others
You are not the only person you could put at risk through careless tweeting; you could also put your loved ones in personal or financial jeopardy by publicizing their business. Exercise some empathy when speaking to and about your friends and family.
Twitter Account Security
Change your password periodically and keep it strong; i.e., hard to guess. Always make sure you are actually on the Twitter website before signing in or tweeting; look-alike sites will not have a "twitter.com" top-level domain name. Finally, check to make sure the emails you receive from Twitter really are from Twitter. The domain name should again be "twitter.com."
Will Conley's writing has appeared in print and online since 1999. Publication venues include Salon.com, SlashGear.com, National Journal, Art New England, Pulse of the Twin Cities, Minnesota Daily and ThisBlogRules.com. Will studied journalism at the University of Minnesota. He is working on four fiction and nonfiction books.