Social Media SIG
Answers by Jessica Scott & Michael Shalkey
The exterior of the Boys & Girls Club was being repainted on the day of our meeting, which delayed the start of the SIGs as we juggled the usual spot for the sign-in table and set up chairs for the Internet and Networking SIG in the area where the sign-in table and name badges usually are.
Michael Shalkey presented most of the SIG, and Jessica Scott periodically added comments. Jessica has expressed concerns about not being sure what members want to know about social media and would welcome suggestions for topics. Talk to her at any of the meetings. Questions this month covered both social media and unrelated topics. — Editor
Microsoft Security Essentials
Q: How good is Microsoft Security Essentials?
A: It's the best of the free programs, and, in my opinion, Norton Anti-virus is the best of the paid programs. Norton 360 and Norton Internet Security are likely to slow your computer and can make networking difficult.
Whatever you do, don't use AVG. We've had several computers in the shop that are running up-to-date AVG that are infected with viruses.
Q: How do I sign up for Twitter? I want to get messages on deals from American Airlines.
A: Go to Twitter.com and establish an account. You'll need to enter your name, email address and a password. Be careful with the password because you enter it only once, and if you make a mistake you won't be able to get into your account. Twitter will send an email to the address you listed, and you'll have to follow a link in the email message to complete the process. This is one of the few times you shouldn't worry about clicking on a link in an email because you're expecting it and were told to look for it after entering your information.
The procedure, which includes retyping a "captcha," a word typed in an odd font to make it difficult for bots to interpret, is called dual factor identification. You're being asked for your name, your password and the retyped word (the name and password are considered one item).
Various types of dual factor identification are likely to become more common as the war on spammers and hijackers continues. One reason for more stringent measures is that hackers could clean out your credit card accounts if they could learn your name, login and password for an account such as Amazon.com that stores credit card information.
After the Twitter account is established, you decide what individuals or companies you want to follow. A search for "American Airlines" resulted in many posts (as did a search for "American Airlines sucks"), but the company's Twitter page appeared in a separate column on the right of the main page.
Twitter is a sounding board for complaints about businesses, and it's often the first source for breaking news because users can post items with their cellphones. It has the disadvantage that posts (called tweets) are limited to 140 characters, including spaces. Many companies hire people just to monitor Twitter for comments about the company. It doesn't matter if no one follows you; companies are concerned that bad comments can circulate quickly and damage their reputations, so many of them respond quickly to try to resolve problems that people raise.
Many news people use Twitter, both for tips and to obtain information from people on the ground in areas that are difficult to reach quickly. Disasters and political upheavals — even the death of Michael Jackson — are often reported first on Twitter. Tweets are also common during awards shows with running commentary by news people covering the events and viewers watching at home.
Michael recommended the book "What Would Google Do? Reverse engineering the Fastest Growing Company in the History of the World" by Jeff Jarvis, a blogging pioneer, for ideas about the future of the Internet. Michael also said that Steve Martin is preparing a book of a year's worth of his tweets along with responses to them.
Steve Gibson of Gibson Research Corp., the developer of SpinRite and a computer security guru, is active on Twitter, posting as sggrc, Michael said. Tweeters use the @ sign and a user's screen name to identify posters (i.e., @sggrc).
Users who want more information about Twitter terminology can search for "twitter terminology" for a variety of online help. Twitter's own terminology guide is at http://support.twitter.com/ entries/166337-the-twitter-glossary.
Michael provided this addition after the meeting: More and more other services will use services like Twitter. One instance is my Photo-A-Day project I've often mentioned. Once I upload my photo to one of many photo-sharing sites, I tweet the link to it in a message including #mostly365. This means that the Mostly 365 project will add it to its Web page for that day. (You are allowed to post only one photo per person.) Now my photo is on a Web page with photographers from around the world. Best part is, no human had to do this manually; it is automatically updated. You can see one of my photos on the Nov 21 page (Port Hueneme Bubbling Springs Park in the rain).
Twitter vs. Linkedin
Q: What's the difference between Twitter and Linkedin? A: Michael Shalkey: I don't know anyone who's really using Linkedin (http://www.linkedin.com), although I've had requests to join other people's pages. As far as I can tell, it's mainly for people who are looking for jobs. Linkedin calls itself a business networking tool.
Twitter vs. Google+
Q: How do Twitter and Google+ compare? A: Google+ doesn't have the numbers that Twitter does, although it would like to. Twitter limits you to 140 characters, while Google+ has no length limit and lets you embed photos.
Google doesn't advertise. If it did, it could probably attract many more users for Google+, but it wants to grow carefully and slowly so its servers aren't crashing regularly.
Jessica: Facebook, Google+ and Myspace are basically the same thing. Twitter focuses on short posts on specific subjects. My generation won't read many things longer than Twitter posts, while your generations will read newspapers and books.
Michael: They all fit together. As we've often said about links in emails, don't blindly click on links in tweets because they can take you to places you don't want to be. More and more tweets promise porn — and some of them will even give you the porn, along with a batch of malware.
Jessica: Twitter posts can spread like wildfire.
Michael: Tabs are becoming more popular in browsers. Some people regularly have 100 tabs or more open.
Q: How does that affect your bandwidth?
A: It depends on the pages you have open. If they're all static, the effect is not tremendous. If all the pages are changing often, like news sites and sites with flashy ads, there is a tremendous effect.