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WSG comments on that Congressman Weiner Twitter thing you’ve heard so much about.

There’s no such thing as privacy on social networks and web applications; there are only degrees of sharing. You can intend to share with only one person or intend to share with millions. He wrote “@username ” instead of “D @username ” and the rest is history. But what’s the difference between these two extremes of sharing? In the case of NY Congressman Andrew Weiner, it appears the difference was as slight as a keystroke, but is that really the case?

Weiner’s mistake was sending a public message when he wanted to sent a private message, but how much protection would that really have provided? What if he had succeeded in sending his lewd photo as a private missive and the recipient had turned around and posted it to Twitter, Facebook, Digg, their blog, anywhere? The point here is that once you’ve sent it, private or public, you have surrendered control of the content. And if you’ve sent it from an account which is unquestionably yours, you can’t claim it wasn’t you. You can claim someone hacked your account, but that’s not a smart move unless you can prove it. Weiner tried to say he was hacked. Tried, and failed.

So, to summarize the take away:

1. Most private case: Send a piece of content to a friend or trusted recipient and only your friend reads it.
2. Least private case: Sent a piece of content to everyone who’s looking, whether you’re aware they’re looking or not.

In case 1, when anyone can pretend to be someone they’re not, your internet trolling might end with you sending sensitive information to the wroooooong person. Then case 1 turns into case 2, and your boat is sunk.

There is no such thing as privacy on social networks. Just degrees of sharing. Be. Careful.

Barracuda Networks Points Finger at Google in 2010 Mid-Year Security Report

Finger Pointing 3244332524_203683a98f_oBarracuda Networks today released their 2010 mid-year security report, and they’re looking askance at some big names.  For one thing, the headline on Barracuda’s site reads:

Google Crowned “King of Malware” – Has Two Times More Malware than Bing, Yahoo! and Twitter Combined

So, search with care, friends. We encourage you browse the report and see what they mean.

The finding are worth a read, and you can get through the report quickly.  The payoff is learning things like: of every 100 Twitter users, 90 have less than 100 followers.  (I’m in that top ten percent, if you’re wondering, and so is the WSG Twitter account.)

The 80-page report can be found here in PDF form.

Twitter Loses the Super Bowl

FAIL —> What did you see if you hopped on Twitter as the Super Bowl came to a close tonight?

twitter is over capacity

My guess is that Twitter’s popularity has far surpassed the annoyance of their frequent outages.  Users likely just put up with the issues as Twitter is still a free service and the outages don’t last for too long.  I can’t help but think that these intermittent issues are what keeps Twitter from launching premium services for users and businesses.  If the service remains mostly free, users don’t bark too loud when things go sour for a bit.  A paid customer is not likely to be as patient.  Either way, I really wonder how most users react to these problems, and what percentage of possible users just decide not to bother with something they view as unreliable.

What do you think?  Do periodic outages impact the way you select your preferred social network?

Hey Ning – What’s up?

We have used Ning.com for a few client projects.  When working, Ning is a nifty site for setting up social networks with loads of features.  I’m a member of a few Ning networks outside of the office, and have had a good experience with it, as have out clients.  Anyone can set up a Ning site on a Ning subdomain such as yoursite.ning.com and start developing a community very quickly.  We have used a number of Ning’s pro services – using a custom domain, removing Google Ad Sense or controlling the ad content – to positive effect.  It can be free if you want it, and it seems to scale up to a professional site with ease.  The designs are customizable down to the CSS, and you can plug Google Analytics code to measure the traffic and usage.

The unexpected part can recently when this error began popping up when visiting Ning.com.

This webpage has a redirect loop.

The webpage at http://www.ning.com/ has resulted in too many redirects. Clearing your cookies for this site may fix the problem. If not, it is possibly a server configuration issue and not a problem with your computer.

The error is simple enough to clear up – just empty your browser cookies – but this could be a nuisance or a big problem for end users and community managers.  How many users actually take the step of reading an error message the first time it appears?  How many web companies, like us, have fielded calls from clients saying their Ning site was down, or misconfigured? While the error may be simple enough to resolve, it is surely a black mark against Ning’s usability.

I posted a message to Ning’s Twitter account (@NIng) this week saying:

@Ning How is your service lately? Some clients have asked about the downtime.

and did receive a quick response from Laura Oatning, a Community Advocate at Ning (@lauraoatning).  She spent some time troubleshooting the issue with me, although not to resolution.  The concern here is that users should not have to clear their browser cookies to visit the site.  My hope is that this is an isolated spate of issues, and is not effecting a larger group.  We’re about to enter a period of focus group testing on one of our client networks, and this is surely one of the issues we’ll have them monitor.

Guest Post on Talk 1300’s Blog Re: Twitter Tips

Our friends over at Talk 1300 recently jumped into the Twitter pond, and the great Pat Ryan asked me to write a guest post on how to get started on Twitter.  Here it is.

Be sure to tune into 1300 AM every Monday morning at 9:05 to hear WSG with Paul Vandenburgh.  You can also listen live at Talk1300.com.

You can follow me on Twitter at @justincresswell or follow WSG at @wsgnet.  Talk 1300 just got into the Twitter game at @Talk1300.