James Mayes

Posts Tagged ‘social networks’

Blog: How to check for unauthorised access to Facebook?

In Facebook, Facebook tips, Social Media on September 6, 2011 at 6:24 am

So the ability to do this is not new – it’s something simple enough to do. Judging by recent conversations though, not many people are aware (or use) this functionality. Here’s a quick guide.

From your Facebook page, go to the top-right and bring up the Account menu – click Account Settings.  From the menu that subsequently appears on the left, select Security.

First up, click that top option, to Edit the setting for Secure Browsing. This forces Facebook to use a secure wireless connection whenever possible. Not all Facebook apps support this – but at least now if you’re in a coffee shop and it switches to non-secure, you’ll get warned.

 OK, so the how to check bit? First, click Edit next to Recognised Devices. This’ll show you which devices have been used to access your Facebook account. Something there you don’t recognise? Remove it and save changes. I’d also then suggest enabling Login Approvals (available in the box just above), so if an unregistered device tries to log in again, there’s an additional security step. You should also change your password.

The other menu to check out – click Edit on Active Sessions. It’ll show you the open sessions, or device connections. Again, something you don’t recognise? Close it, change your password.   Just one caveat – be conscious of the impact of mobile network centres. For example, if I’m travelling, I’ll sometimes use my phone as a hotspot to get my laptop online.  A Facebook login for that day (when I might be in Manchester) could show the actual location as being Newbury (where my mobile phone provider is physically based). Just one to watch out for!

Blog: Secure your Twitter account – Spring cleaning time!

In Social Media, Twitter, Twitter Tips on March 2, 2011 at 1:11 pm

Once again, Twitter’s been hit by a few rogue applications over the last week.  The two that have caught me are MyTwitterDirectory and Time on Twitter.  Both require you to sign in with Twitter, and both immediately tweet on your behalf, without expressly asking your permission.  Whilst I haven’t checked the fine print, I’m pretty sure this goes against the spirit of the Twitter API terms of service, so I doubt they will be around for long.  In the meantime though, what should you do?

  1. Delete the offending tweet.  These things tweet in order to be visible to your followers and grow. By removing the tweet from your stream, you reduce the number of people likely to get caught. There’s more detailed explanation of this here, from security firm Sophos.
  2. Revoke the applications’ access.

The second part effectively removes the connection between your Twitter account and the app – so stops it doing anything in future. If you check, you’ll probably find you have a bunch of other apps you’ve authorised in the past and either forgot about or moved on from.

Use this as a good opportunity to do a Spring clean. First up, go to twitter.com and log in. Next, open up your account Settings menu. On “New Twitter” (bravely assuming you’ve all now made the transition!) the menu is in the top-right corner.

Once you’re in the Settings menu, you’ll have a series of options presented.  Choose Connections.

You’ll now have a list of all the apps which have authorised access to your Twitter account.  More than you thought, I’ll wager.  Underneath each, you’ll see the option to Revoke.  Click it for each app you wish to remove.

<UPDATE Oct 2011>> Layout is roughly the same, Connections is now renamed Applications.

Be careful at this point not to get over-zealous.  For example, you may not have a WordPress blog, but you might have authorised it to make it easier for you to comment on other people’s – you’ll therefore want to continue to allow that. Likewise, don’t inadvertently remove the app you use for access from your phone!

Hope this helps – feedback, as always, is most welcome.

Blog: Calculating influence

In Social Media, Twitter on January 17, 2011 at 9:36 pm

I’ve read a fair amount of blogs (and associated comments) recently on the subject of influence on Twitter.  What is it, how is it defined, can it be measured, etc.  A quick scan of online reference sites offers a number of definitions. Since this is as much for my benefit as anyone’s, I’m going to select a definition which I feel is both simplistic and roughly appropriate to my intent: “the action or process of producing effects on the actions […] of another”.

What I really want to play around with here is the idea of measuring it.  There are a number of tools out there which try do this, Klout probably being the best-known.These sites don’t generally disclose their algorithms or methods – partially to stop people “gaming the system”, partially for competitive reasons. So to the meat of this. What do I think should be measured? How does the metric look?

Most systems start with follower numbers – but this is no good if the person in question tends not to retweet or share.  It’s also no good if the person follows thousands of people and is highly unlikely to see (or even be interested in) my output.  On the other hand, if someone’s happy to share my material on a regular basis, but has only limited followers of their own, what good will that do me? Finally – whatever number of followers and retweets are involved, it’s still of negligible benefit if the followers in question don’t represent my target audience.

If a platform was going to meaningfully analyse and measure influence for me, it would need to understand both my target audience, and the followers of whoever retweeted on my behalf.  Is the data in someone’s Twitter bio solid enough to form a judgement on? Typically, I’d say not – so the only measure available would be the keywords in previous tweets. Going down this route implies the platform would need to both analyse said tweets – but more importantly, actually access them.  It’s not the easiest thing to go back in time with Twitter…

So what other measure could be a useful part of the mix?  For me, I’d be interested in the type of thing tweeted. If I got retweets from someone who only ever retweeted others, I doubt it would carry much significance.  Ideally for me, a Twitter account contains a rich mix of interesting short tweets, links to longer material of relevance and reciprocated @mentions to other Twitter users – showing the level of relationship. Capture all that, I think you get somewhere nearer to a measure of influence that might actually interest me.

Can this realistically be done on Twitter? Possibly – but I think the answer may lie in opening up to other platforms in order to better cover the target audience part of things.  Using the more detailed profiles of LinkedIn might be one route to explore.

However it progresses – and I’m sure it will – this post has been something of a pain to me.  I have an idea in mind, a model if you will – but I’m not happy with the way it’s converted on the blog.  I feel like I’m still missing a key part and I’d welcome any thoughts in getting it clearer – if only for the sake of my sanity!

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