I’ve never really understood the phrase “gobsmacked” until today.
I got that same old spammy direct message on Twitter, saying “Did you see this pic of you. LOL” and a link:
As always, I deleted the email notification, and went to the sender’s timeline.
They are a small local company, with not many followers and a pretty meager twitter feed… so as well as replying on Twitter, I took the unusual step of calling their office to let them know that they had clicked on a bad link, and they needed to change their password.
Nobody was in the office, but I left them a fairly comprehensive message, explaining (in the simplest terms possible) how they could quickly resolve their issue.
About an hour later, I got a call back, asking if I was Bob, and asking me to explain what I was talking about.
Because… you see… they PAY someone to look after their Twitter account for them. Or, more precisely, to send spam, on their behalf.
The Twitter feed that I took as someone’s sad attempt to break into the world of Social Media… was contracted out to a “professional”… who was tricked by the “Have you seen this picture of you. LOL” tweet.
And, now I understand “gobsmacked.”
I have no issue with someone helping out with Social Media. Heck, I have a number of businesses and Organizations that I help with that !!!
But I believe in value for money, and if you can’t do something properly and well… say so, and get out of the way.
Apparently not everyone feels that way… and some people are just Social Media vultures… taking advantage of small companies that don’t know any better.
FYI… The Free Dictionary defines ‘gobsmacked’ as British slang, meaning astounded or astonished.
On Twitter there have been a number of folk who have been bewildered by their account suddenly spewing spam and apparently being hacked.
There are hackers out there who will, through “brute force” hack into an account. These hackers usually attack people like Ashton Kutcher, Eric Stonestreet, and other high profile celebs.
For those of us not having to dodge papparazzi, tabloid reporters and entertainment television, we just have to take a few simple precautions, and be aware of a few steps and take a few precautions, in order to prevent MOST problems.
First thing, before anything else, follow @TwitterSupport twitter account, so that you receive updates and suggestions from Twitter, on best practices and account security.
On Twitter, when you discover a spammer, phisher or a bot… you can block them, report them, or both. (Because different Twitter interfaces have different instructions, you’ll have to learn “how” on your own.)
1) If you find you are mentioned in an @ message, from someone you don’t follow, with the enticement of a free IKEA Gift Certificate/Starbucks Card/IPad2/iPhone/whatever… Don’t click on it. Just report the sender for spam, and block them.
2) If you get a DM (direct message) from a legitimate follower, who says to you: “Have you seen this bad blog/post/picture that mentions you ?” and a link… Don’t click on it. It will cause your account to be hacked. To address this… first, note the twitter handle of the person sending the message… then, delete the message… and finally, send that person an @ message, telling them their account has been hacked, their password was compromised, and they need to change their password. A good rule of thumb is: Unless someone sends you an @ message, telling you they are sending a DM message, NEVER CLICK ON A LINK IN A DM !!!
3) If you get a new follower who has few or no followers, often with a suggestive photo of a woman, often with a nonsensical user name (Michelle9f75n00()(), and often having a bio that says something like: “My parents don’t know I’ve had sex, but I like it a lot. Please follow me” and a link. Don’t click on the link… just block and report the account for spam.
By following these few precautions, hopefully folks can use Twitter with less problems, and without the frustration and embarrassment of having to let everyone know their account has been hacked.
See you on Twitter !!!