How Not To Be A Weiner

How could I not include that title? When will such headline stars ever align again? As you likely have heard, NY Democratic Congressman Anthony Weiner admitted yesterday that he was indeed send out the near-naked photos of himself via his Twitter account and that his account was not hacked.

Of course, Mr. Weiner’s substantial discomfort is our gain, as it provides some great lessons for using social media wisely – besides the obvious rule that you shouldn’t be sending naughty pictures to others, especially if you’re a public figure and the recipient isn’t your significant other. I’m hoping you have that figured out.

In the meantime, here’s how you make sure you don’t turn out like Mr. Weiner:

Log in via HTTPS: Mr. Weiner’s account didn’t end up being hacked, but it is still important to take steps to ensure others don’t get access to your account – especially on public wifi. HTTPS will encrypt the information passed between your account and Twitter. While logged into your Twitter account, go to “settings” and tick the box “Always use HTTPS”.

Keep Personal and Business Accounts Separate: What you choose to do on your own time is your business. But if you use one Twitter account for work and for personal use, you’re looking for Red Cross kind of trouble. I use different clients (Tweetdeck, Hootsuite, Twitter for iPhone, etc) for different accounts to make sure I don’t post personal tweets to corporate accounts. You should also have different passwords for work and personal accounts.

Control Access: You should be aware at all times of who has access to your social media accounts. Did you pass along credentials to a colleague or subordinate? Do you use the same password for all accounts? Who knows that password? It is important you have a firm grip on who has access to your account at all times. If you’re not sure, change your password.

Use a Strong Password: This may seem like a no-brainer, but studies show the most common password is “123456”. Better to use a strong password, which is defined as a password that has numbers, letters, special characters and at least one capital letter. Those passwords offer far less risk of being broken by hackers or others looking to do you harm.

There Is Always A Screenshot: This won’t help you if you’ve posted a pic you shouldn’t have, but this is something to keep in mind. If you’re a public figure or someone engaged in social media, there is someone watching what you are posting – pretty much at all times. If you post something you we’re supposed to, it is a very safe assumption that someone has a copy of it. Click here to see how Mr. Weiner’s tale went down. Better not to post anything in the first place, but if you do – acting like it didn’t happen is probably a faulty strategy.

As they say, a KB of prevention is worth a GB of cure. Take some of these simple steps to ensure your account is secure and that you know what you’re tweeting.

Then again, if you really want to avoid being a (W)einer, you could always just keep your private photo collection to yourself.

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