250,000 Twitter Accounts Hacked!


Late last, night just as I was heading to bed I received an email from Twitter asking me to reset my password. At first, I thought it might be a spam or spoofed email. But, confirmation of the compromise came when I checked Techmeme.

Twitter has also released a blog confirming that they have been compromised.

This week, we detected unusual access patterns that led to us identifying unauthorized access attempts to Twitter user data. We discovered one live attack and were able to shut it down in process moments later. However, our investigation has thus far indicated that the attackers may have had access to limited user information – usernames, email addresses, session tokens and encrypted/salted versions of passwords – for approximately 250,000 users.

As a precautionary security measure, we have reset passwords and revoked session tokens for these accounts. If your account was one of them, you will have recently received (or will shortly) an email from us at the address associated with your Twitter account notifying you that you will need to create a new password. Your old password will not work when you try to log in to Twitter.

The final paragraph was the one that really concerned me

This attack was not the work of amateurs, and we do not believe it was an isolated incident. The attackers were extremely sophisticated, and we believe other companies and organizations have also been recently similarly attacked. For that reason we felt that it was important to publicize this attack while we still gather information, and we are helping government and federal law enforcement in their effort to find and prosecute these attackers to make the Internet safer for all users.

So, if you have received an email today from Twitter, please ensure you change your password immediately. You may also want to check your spam folder, just in case the Twitter password reset email is lurking there!

How To Clean Unwanted Apps in Social Media


Avi Charkham has created a wonderful site called http://mypermissions.org/ which helps users to manage the ever growing list of apps, that we are associate our social accounts too.  It is good to practice to prune services and apps that you no longer use for good security best practice. To make life easier, I’ve posted the direct links below:

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/settings/?tab=applications

Twitter: http://twitter.com/settings/connections

Google: https://www.google.com/accounts/IssuedAuthSubTokens

Yahoo: https://api.login.yahoo.com/WSLogin/V1/unlink?.intl=us&.scrumb=oGuZry/Yg97

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/secure/settings?userAgree=&goback=.aas

Dropbox: https://www.dropbox.com/account#applications

Instagram: https://instagr.am/oauth/manage_access

Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/services/auth/list.gne?from=extend

Twitter Reaches 100 Million Active Users


Flickr Credit: Twitter

Yesterday, Twitter announced that they had reached an epic milestone of 100 Million users as a press event. Along with the usual Press call, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo also shared some interesting facts.

  • Over half, 55% of Twitter users log on to the service via their mobile phone.
  • On average, 1 billion tweets are sent each day. This represents an 82% surge in Tweets since January 2011.
  • Worldwide growth rivals U.S. growth.
  • According to Costolo, 40% of active users do not Tweet or have not Tweeted in the last month.
  • Twitter.com sees 400 million unique visitors each month
  • “The 400 million monthly uniques number shows that people are getting value out of Twitter without logging in.”
  • Every team in the NFL is on Twitter with over half of players hosting accounts as well.
  • 75% of NBA players have Twitter accounts.
  • 82% of US Congress and 85% of US Senators are on Twitter.
  • 87% of the 2010 Billboard Top 100 are also on Twitter.
  • 100% of the top 50 Nielsen-rated TV shows Tweet.

Congratulations to the Twitter team, I can’t wait to see what the next year brings!

Twitter Updates Notifications


Twitter has started to upgrade user accounts with updated notifications features. The only problem is that you will now receive an email every time you receive a direct message, a reply, details of a new follower, updates when your tweets are marked as favourites and finally when your tweets retweeted! 

To avoid an inbox full of spammy notification emails, you can easily make a few small changes within Twitter’s notifications tab. If you don’t see the settings above, don’t panic. It just means Twitter hasn’t updated your account just yet. Just sign in to your Twitter account and go to the notifications tab within the settings section and untick the boxes that you don’t want notifications emails for.

Twitter Refreshed–A Look At The New Twitter.com Site


Twitter has announced a radical new design for their own homepage. Yesterday, to much fanfare they announced “Today, we’re introducing a new, re-engineered Twitter.com that provides an easier, faster, and richer experience”. You can find out more about the enhancements on Twitter information page here. But here are some of the highlights:

  • Enchanced new design. The new Twitter.com has a cleaner timeline and a rich details pane that instantly adds more impact to individual Tweets. The site also now offers infinite scroll — you no longer have to click “more” to view additional Tweets.
  • Embedded Media. You will now be able to embed photos and videos directly intoon Twitter, due to 16 partnerships with DailyBooth, DeviantART, Etsy, Flickr, Justin.TV, Kickstarter, Kiva, Photozou, Plixi, Twitgoo, TwitPic, TwitVid, USTREAM, Vimeo, yfrog, and YouTube.
  • Related content. Click on a tweet and the details pane shows you additional information related to the author or subject. Depending on the Tweet’s content, you may see: replies, other Tweets by that user, a map of where a geotagged Tweet was sent from, and more.
  • Mini profiles. Click a username to see a mini profile without navigating from the page, which provides quick access to account information, including bio and recent Tweets

Mashable succinctly describes the forthcoming update as “…a desktop app minus the download” and I think that makes a very fair description of the new site. You can see an example of the new interface below. For iPad users, the revamped Twitter interface will be familiar. Twitter for iPad uses a very similar display to the new Twitter site.


Lifehacker has collated a list of all of the keyboard shortcuts which will helpful to users, once they are migrated to the new site. You can learn more about the shortcuts below:


  • j/k to move between the next and previous tweets
  • Enter to drill down into or close a selected tweet
  • space to page down
  • Shift+space to page up
  • / to jump to the search box
  • . to refresh and jump back to the top

Actions for Individual Tweets

  • f to favorite a tweet
  • r to reply to a tweet
  • t to retweet
  • m to send a direct message
  • n to compose a new tweet
  • Escape to cancel a compose window, dismiss the help window
Via lifehacker.com


The roll out for Twitter users will begin within the next few weeks, so watch out for your upgrade. Personally, I think this is a great revamp. The Twitter experience will become richer for users, and the embeddable media features will save time. Today, I don’t like having to go to sites such as Twitpic and Yfrog to view picture content. However, I do wonder how desktop clients such as Seesmic and Tweetdeck will respond to this update? Are we going to Twitter desktop clients evolving. Or, does the new Twitter upgrade make desktop clients redundant? Only time will tell.

Great job Twitter team!

Twitterville – A Book Review


I was fortunate enough* to receive an advance copy of Shel Israel’s – Twitterville recently. The premise of the book is an examination of how businesses (of all sizes) can thrive in the digital space with the micro-blogging tool – Twitter. This is Shel’s second outing as an author, after co-authoring the highly successful book, Naked Conversations with Robert Scoble. After completing the book, I felt strongly that Twitterville was the spiritual successor to Naked Conversations.

If you are looking for a book about how to use Twitter, then unfortunately Twitterville is not designed for you. In my opinion, this is a key strength and helps to separate it from the many other Twitter books already available. Shel’s book contains a number of case studies on how individuals and companies have used Twitter to extend their reach out to lots of people, unlike any tool that they have probably used before.

The case studies featured within the book describe, how both large and small businesses have successfully used Twitter to connect to wider audiences, and the interesting results that they have achieved. Companies such as Dell, Comcast, Evernote, Starbucks and Zappos are all featured among others. Shel does a great job of sharing the insights that each company has learned during their own Twitter experiences. The chapters make great reading and contain a good blend of content versus size. Shel interviewed many people for the book, and I’m surprised at how he managed to keep the book’s size so relatively small!

My only criticism of the book is that Shel often presents an overtly positive Twitter story, while passing over some of the negative aspects of the service. For every positive contribution, there are hundreds of examples of random chatter or shameless promotion. However, Shel does present a chapter that does detail the effect spammers. Therefore, at times the book can appear to be a little one sided. Putting this point aside, if you are looking for a good business book, and are interested in how social media can be applied within a practical commercial setting. I would highly recommend that you buy Twitterville. The book is sure to become a great classic.

My good friend, Steve Clayton sums up the book with a great quote, which you can find on the back cover.


I couldn’t have put it better myself!

Twitterville is available to order from Amazon here.

*With thanks to Maureen Cole at Portfolio

Twitter 101 – The Guide For Your Business

Twitter has launched a new site dedicated to helping businesses to become au fait with the microblogging service. Twitter 101 A Special Guide is a great online resource that I would highly recommend to anyone looking to use Twitter as part of their social media mix.

Of particular interest are the getting started guide and the case studies from companies such as Dell, JetBlue, Etsy and others who share their insights of using Twitter. Also, of notable interest are the best practices guidelines.

Download the PDF deck here

Razorfish’s Social Influence Marketing Report


(via @GuyKawasaki)

Razorfish just released a report entitled, “Fluent: The Razorfish Social Influence Marketing Report”. It examines how social media influences purchase decisions, how social features are entering online advertising, and how social media is becoming a paid distribution mechanism. The implications for marketers and entrepreneurs are:

  • Brands must socialise with their customers because “top-down” advertising isn’t going to work.

  • Brand must develop a credible voice along the parameters of engagement, humility, and authenticity.

  • Brands must make their social relationships more symmetrical—that is, with value for both the brand and the customer.

    The report also includes this gem of a list of how brands should use Twitter:

  1. Become familiar with Twitter by reviewing, or following, the activities of successful brands such
    as Dell (dell.com/twitter), Zappos (twitter.com/zappos) and Comcast (twitter.com/comcastcares).

  2. Listen to what is already being said on Twitter about your brand.

  3. Identify initial objectives for using Twitter, including what would qualify as a Twitter success
    story for your brand.

  4. Look into competitive activities and potential legal considerations, especially if there is already
    a Twitter account that uses your brand’s name or other intellectual property associated with it.

  5. Use the findings to decide on the appropriate opportunity such as offers or community
    building, tone of voice and method of engagement—that may be right for your brand.

  6. Since Twitter is an ongoing activity—even if your company is only listening in—dedicate a
    resource to monitor the conversations and competitors.

  7. Map out a plan for the content you will share, including valuable initial content to pique
    user interest.

  8. Integrate your Twitter account throughout your marketing experience, by embedding it as a
    feed on the company Web site, including its URL in communications and so forth.

  9. Maintain momentum by following everyone who follows you, responding to queries and joining
    in conversations without being too marketing oriented.

  10. Provide ongoing direct value through your tweets by continuing to listen, learn and fine- tune
    your Twitter activities.

    All in all, a valuable read. Click here to download the report, or read it below.

Razorfish Fluent Report

Twitter 10 Commandments (Updated)


Over the past few months, Twitter has experienced explosive growth, attracting celebrity users such as Oprah, and a growing mountain of media and blog coverage. However, many new users are falling foul of Twitter etiquette. In many cases, unfiltered tweeting could be dangerous to your Twitter health – you could end up losing your followers fast!

As such, Patricio Robles builds upon the original Twitter 10 Commandments with an updated list below:

  • Thou shalt not use DM autoresponders. More often than not, DM autoresponders are used poorly. Unless you have a good reason to use them and know what you’re doing, consider avoiding them altogether.
  • Thou shalt not beg for retweets. If your content is good, other Twitter users will retweet it. Asking "pls RT" makes you look desperate.
  • Thou shalt not autotweet. Unless your followers followed you to get automatic updates (eg. they know your account is tied to a content feed), autotweeting is usually a bad idea.
  • Thou shalt not tweet in bunches. You know the guy who always sends out a couple dozen tweets in rapid-fire succession? Don’t be that guy. Sending lots of tweets in a short period of time is just downright annoying.
  • Thou shalt not take your followers on a trip to hashtag hell. Hashtags can be extremely useful but they’re frequently abused by spammers, marketers and applications. So choose which ones you use wisely. Hint: hashtags relating to body parts, private matters, illegal activities and words you wouldn’t use in the presence of your grandparents are usually the ones to avoid.
  • Thou shalt not sex up your avatar. Everyone loves a pretty face but when it comes to your Twitter avatar, make sure that pretty face is your own. Using a photo of a beautiful woman or a studly man to attract attention is suitable only for the lowliest of spammers. And don’t forget to keep your clothes on; your rock-hard abs may be worthy of exhibition on the beach but you probably don’t need to show them off in Twitter’s public timeline.
  • Thou shalt not oversell. This is ‘social‘ media. Just as nobody likes the person who is constantly selling vaccuum cleaners at the cocktail party on Friday, nobody likes the person who is selling via tweet 24×7. So even if you’re using Twitter for business purposes, don’t go overboard with the pitches; providing value with your tweets will do more for your selling efforts than 140 characters of hard pitch.
  • Thou shalt not overfollow or autofollow. If you have 500 followers but are following 5,000 people, something is wrong. Some people have sophisticated beliefs regarding follower ratios; I don’t. But common sense is in order: there are plenty of reasons not to follow other users and you should only follow people who you find interesting. As it relates to autofollowing, if I told you I was jumping off a cliff, would you follow me over the edge? Hopefully not. Consider applying the same logic when it comes to who you follow on Twitter.
  • Thou shalt not sell out. Tweeting a message for a company for a chance to win a free laptop may be a good deal for the company but you’d probably ask for more if you were selling your soul and not your Twitter account. Even so, by tweeting marketing messages for compensation (or a chance at compensation), you send the message that you’re easily bought and sold. That’s probably not a message you want to send.
  • Thou shalt not tweet before thinking. You are what you tweet. So think twice before saying something dumb. From retweeting a fake news story to crudely voicing a opinion that makes you look like a jerk, there are plenty of ways you can put your foot in your mouth in 140 characters. So keep your shoes on and your feet on the ground by thinking before you hit ‘update‘.
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Biz Stone Interviewed!


As Steve mentions on his blog, Microsoft’s Mel Carson was lucky enough to interview Twitter co-founder Biz Stone in Cannes last week.  Mel does a great job on the interview. Watch the video above to learn:

  • What is Biz’s favourite Twitter app?
  • How many registered apps use the Twitter API?
  • Why is Biz Stone in Cannes with lots of advertising people?