Social Media

Please, please do NOT use Facebook to sign in to other sites

We’ve all been there…we’re in a hurry to get something done, and the site we’re trying to access says ‘login using Facebook’ and well, you just click it. What’s the harm, right? I’m already logged into Facebook…it’ll be faster…

UNTIL…you’ve been hacked. One of the most LIKELY TO GET HACKED paths you can take is to use Facebook as the login vehicle for other sites. Actually, I shouldn’t pick on Facebook…using ANY social media login to log in to other sites should be STRICTLY AVOIDED. Seriously. I can’t emphasize that enough.

Why not? Well, it’s certainly easy, but it is also dangerous. Using your Social Media signon to access other sites is like using one password for ALL sites, but as Neil J. Rubenking of PC Magazine says, it is ‘worse, much worse’. Why would that be?

Well, once you access your non-Facebook account via Facebook, you are, in essence, “connecting” the two, and allowing evil people to connect to all of your non-Facebook accounts with the ONE password they’ve stolen. In essence, you’ve given them the MASTER KEY to all of your accounts.

Neil does a great job laying out this issue in a very short, but accurate article. Check out his article here: Signing into Websites with Facebook is Just Asking to be Hacked.

Please, please…don’t do it. Hackers target the easiest and most bountiful companies for their time/effort…Those are not your local machine, but rather, the global websites and companies…Facebook is a PRIME target…don’t end up doing the ‘woulda, shoulda, coulda’ dance…just take the extra seconds to key in your username/password into the website…don’t fall into the easy, but very dangerous, ‘Use Facebook Login’. Please, I beg of you!

There are a bunch of password management tools out there…and that does NOT mean an Excel/Word file stored on your computer called ‘passwords’! Use a password management tool…PC Mag also does a great review of those (Password Management Tool Comparison), but they don’t even list the one that I use which is ‘eWallet’ made by Ilium Software (eWallet)…I love e-Wallet because it syncs to my phone, so I always have all of my passwords with me. Just be double-darned sure that you’re using a VERY STRONG password on your password storage tool…and one that is TOTALLY DIFFERENT from any other password you use.

A Great Example of the Power of Social Media

I’m sorry that I’ve been remiss in writing. It’s certainly not for lack of ideas! My list grows longer and longer…it’s the time to write (or lack thereof) that gets me! My apologies. All kinds of fascinating things have come to my attention recently, but one really caught my eye.

Most people will admit that the last couple of weeks have been amazing from a news standpoint…from tornadoes a mile wide to a Royal Wedding to the death of Osama bin Laden. Whew! Information overload!!! Personally, I was riveted to the TV that Friday morning for the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton (I’m a sucker for a romantic story). Fantasy and fairy tales aside, I’m going to focus on the bin Laden story (no blood or gore here…just some interesting information about the power of social media).

The Sunday night when bin Laden was killed will be one of those defining moments where you will forever remember exactly where you were and what you were doing when you heard the news. Like the assassination of JFK, landing on the moon, explosion of Challenger, etc. most people (of a ‘certain’ age) can tell you exactly where they were and what they were doing at the moment of those momentous occasions.

With the death of bin Laden, I was watching the nationally televised Phillies game on ESPN. As chants of ‘USA, USA’ began rippling through the stands, players and announcers tried to figure out why. People with their smartphones were reading that bin Laden was dead. Right there is a testament to the power of technology, but that’s not what caught my attention in the interminable 24-hour news cycle.

Rather, what caught my attention was an article titled “How 4 people & their social network turned an unwitting witness to bin Laden’s death into a citizen journalist” by a writer for the Poynter Institute (School of Journalism).

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you may know that I have an ambivalent relationship with Twitter. This blog is fed through Twitter, but other than that, I don’t tweet much. I just haven’t ‘bonded’ with that medium. I’m still working on understanding where it is useful and why I care that someone is picking up a latte at their favorite coffee shop.

That said, I took note when I read that one person’s tweet about a helicopter flying low in Pakistan was actually an ‘on the ground report’ of the start of the raid on bin Laden’s compound. Sohaib Athar is an IT consultant living in Pakistan. He wasn’t ‘reporting’. He was commenting to family and friends on an unusual occurrence. He had (past tense) a relatively modest (by Twitter standards) 750 followers. Within 24 hours, this same guy had over 86,000 followers!!!!!

How did that happen? For details, please read the article, but if you want my simplified view of what happened, keep on reading!

Sohaib Athar heard something unusual that Sunday night…helicopters flying low. His actual tweet was this: ‘What was a low-flying heli doing flying around Abottabad Cantt at 0130 hrs?’ Shortly thereafter, he tweeted about a large explosion (gee, could that have been the helicopter blowing up?).

Those original tweets went to his circle of friends – his 750 followers. Among those 750 followers was someone who was linked to someone who is in the media (or several someones). You don’t need to have a lot of followers yourself…if just one person likes what you have to say, they can retweet what you write and all of a sudden an ‘influential’ tweeter may have grabbed a hold of what you had to say and the rest, as they say, is history.

I envision Twitter (and LinkedIn, for that matter) being a series of interlocking circles. I might not know someone who is in the media mainstream, but I may know someone who knows someone heavily involved in media. The sphere of influence is ever expanding as people like the information that you have to share, and retweet what you have to say.

The ‘low flying heli’ tweet helps to highlight (for me) that the power of Twitter may not be in the ‘I’m having a latte’ type of comment, but on the ability of a single person – with no particular ability/interest in broadcasting news events – to ‘report’ on a singular ‘view’ of an event, and be able to share that with the world.

The next time there’s breaking news, I may turn off the TV or the ‘traditional’ news media outlets, and sign in to Twitter and see what the average person has to say about the ‘event’. I’m not totally comfortable in my relationship with Twitter yet, but I do see the value in being able to share important information quickly…and trust that ‘the word’ will get passed along.

Dealing with Technophobia (fear of technology)

As some of you may have picked up during these discussions, while I am often considered a ‘techie’ by people who are intimidated by technology, I’m really not an early adopter (typically) of technology. I tend to take my time, allow other people to ‘take the lumps’, and then, when the technology (whatever it is) gains a little bit of traction (or ‘a-lot-a-bit’ of traction), I’ll consider including it into my technology portfolio. I consider my approach prudent. You can argue with that, but that tends to be my approach.

That said, there are certain people who are really technophobes. Wikipedia defines ‘technophobia’ as:
The fear or dislike of advanced technology or complex devices, especially computers. The term is generally used in the sense of an irrational fear, but others contend fears are justified. (Wikipedia definition)

I do NOT consider myself a technophobe, but I can be resistant to adopting new technologies.

Currently, I am being resistant to several things:
1. Office 2007/2010 (Office 2003 is just so darned comfortable)
2. Trying a Mac (I don’t know why…I tell myself I don’t want to pay the premium for the Apple product, yet I have an iPod)
3. Digital Book Readers (I like the ‘feel’ of a book in my hand)

Here’s what I’ve found helps when I’m feeling overwhelmed by all the technology around me:

1. Find someone else who has/uses that technology and try it out – or get them to show you the BASICS (note: the BASICS, not all the fancy stuff). It’s far less scary when you try it with someone who already uses it.

2. See if there is a portion of the technology that you can try before you fully commit. A couple of examples are: a. Test out the ‘trial period’ version of software. Oftentimes, you can get a 30 day peek at a software without shelling out the dollars. Then, at the end of the 30 days, if you like it, you can purchase it. b. Sign up for a service and just lurk. Watch what happens. Social Media is a prime example of this. Just because you sign up for a Facebook account doesn’t mean that you HAVE to actively participate. ‘Friend’ a couple of people (or accept one or two friend requests that you already have out there). ‘Like’ a merchant or organization that you want information from. Sit back and watch…you’ll get the feel for it without a huge time investment.

3. Determine whether its something that you’ve ‘gotta have’ or whether you’re doing it ‘because everyone else is’. In this day and age, you probably HAVE TO HAVE a computer, but you don’t NEED TO HAVE the biggest/fastest one.

4. Wait a bit – until the initial adoption phase is over. Let someone else work out the big kinks. Just don’t kid yourself that 2-3 years is the ‘breaking in period’…in that amount of time, the technology has changed totally.

5. Don’t worry about ‘everyone else’ using it/doing it. If the technology that you have does what you need it to do, stick with it until it breaks. THEN invest in the more modern technology. Not only will you have fewer issues because other people have shaken the kinks out, but it will probably cost less because you won’t be paying for that ‘latest gadget’ premium.

Happy Holidays! The Nativity seen through 2010 eyes

OK…so I hadn’t intended on posting again before next week, but this link just landed in my Inbox and had me laughing so hard that I just had to share it.

Those who really feel that Social Media is intrusive will laugh, as will people who see the value in it. I have no idea who thought of this, but they were certainly creative!!

The Nativity seen through 2010 eyes.

I hope someone else finds this as humorous (and yes, ridiculous) as I do!!

I wish everyone safe, happy and healthy holidays.

Buddy’s Big Adventure

Monday was a beautiful day for a walk…really, it was. In fact, one of my house cats, Buddy, decided that it was a good day for a walk, as well, and headed out the front door as I headed into the house loaded down with laptops and shopping bags and no free arms. Not a big deal in many households, but it was in mine (don’t worry, this isn’t a scary story). You see, Buddy is 16 years old and is a house cat in the literal sense…he’s never been allowed outside (he grew up in Manhattan – the closest he’s ever gotten to the outside is the walk from the house to the car while he’s in his carrier). I dropped everything I was carrying on the walk (literally), and scurried around to the other side of the shrubbery, trying to get him before he darted off. What I didn’t realize is that Buddy wasn’t really trying to get away, he was just putting his paw in the proverbial pond and sniffing around to see what was outside his normal realm. I scooped him up (he did look rakish with branches clinging to his coat), hugged him tight and dropped him unceremoniously in the foyer in my house with admonitions to ‘stay where he belonged’. He looked at me, sniffed, and headed to his food bowl. Apparently the ‘great outdoors’ wasn’t all that fearsome or great.

Why on earth is she telling this story, you’re asking? Using a trick that a wonderful newsletter writer (Ellen Fisher, Editor of the Women’s Yellow Pages of Greater Philadelphia has demonstrated to me via her eZines (if you want a good laugh at the beginning of every month, I highly recommend that you subscribe), I want to take it back to a business lesson. Really…just bear with me a moment more.

Buddy is 16 in calendar years. He’s an old man. He does NOT like change. When I inherited him upon my father’s death five years ago, he hid under the bed for six months – literally. If I move his food dish to the other side of the kitchen, he wails until it moves back. Change is NOT his friend. Yet…on this one sunny afternoon, he chose to investigate, go outside to a ‘brave new world’, and try something different.

This week, I was at a wonderful program put on by NAWBO Philadelphia ( on Social Networking. A panel of esteemed bloggers was present to give their thoughts on what Social Media can mean to our businesses. Many of the attendees were (how do I put this politely?) on the north side of 40. There was much fidgeting (literally) and gnashing of teeth (figuratively) as terms such as tweets, Facebook, LinkedIn, blogosphere, tweetdeck, microblogging, etc. rang out around the room. Why? Because it’s uncomfortable, and unknown, and yes, overwhelming. Yes, it’s ‘new stuff’. At a time when most of us are experts in our fields and successfully run our own companies, we have to go back to a virtual kindergarten and learn something totally foreign. Those guys even speak a different language!

I started thinking about the best way to approach this for those of us who are “mature” in years and/or in experience. The answer…just like anything else…don’t try to do it all at once…just like Buddy – take a short stroll, test the waters. You can always go back for more (though that option will NOT be offered to Buddy). Maybe it’s not that bad. It will get less scary the more familiar you get. Take a bite…don’t eat the whole thing at one time. The analogies are endless…its no different with this ‘stuff’…one baby step at a time.

My first step: Set up a Twitter account (eeekkk!!!!). I think that the only way I’ll understand it is to ‘lurk’ for a while and see what it’s all about. Apparently, my name is @sandraclitter…can someone verify that that works?

Be brave…take that first step! You’ve gotten this far…you’re reading this blog…now you can stretch a little further!