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June 7, 2011

Anthony Weiner and Twitter

This is not going to be a political post. I do not get political on this blog. However there are times where politics and tech related issues intertwine and this is one of these times. This blog is from a tech perspective and I will not issue an opinion of Congressman Weiner one way or another politically.

Congressman Weiner admitted yesterday that he had tweeted lewd pictures of himself. He supposedly is one of the more tech savvy members of Congress. I have made mention both on this blog and on Twitter the need to be careful of what you put out on the internet especially social media sites like Twitter and Facebook. A lot of what you put out there in cyberspace is out in the open for all to see. Congressman Weiner who again is tech savvy should have known this. Unless your tweets are protected or you are sending a direct message to someone, any tweet you make is there and cannot be considered a secret in any way, shape or form. When I tweet, I realize this. If I make a grammatical error or another error guess what? It can be seen by anyone and does not put me in the best light. Anyone with internet access can see them by simply doing a search on Twitter. A lot of my tweets can also be found by doing a search on Google or another search engine. Since he admitted that he sent it, I cannot understand how Anthony Weiner as a user of Twitter could not think that somehow the Tweet of him in his underwear would be hush hush. If he intended to send a direct message, he should have been extra careful knowing the implications of the tweet in question. Also keep in mind that anyone using Twitter has the ability to retweet a tweet to their followers and of course that is there for all to see. So for argument's sake, if Charlie Sheen who has over 4 million followers was to retweet Weiner's infamous tweet all 4 million plus of his followers will see it. Sheen's followers can then retweet it to their followers and you can see this all spiraling.

Let me respond about hacked passwords here as Weiner initially said his account was hacked. You need to have a safe password. I have blogged about the need for a safe password in previous posts. Please see the link which also has links to related posts. You also need to be careful of phishing schemes.

In this day of social media, Google, Facebook, etc., we need to be careful of what we put online. Anything you do online in a public forum can be obtained by others. A few years ago I signed an online petition that photography in New York City subways not be banned. One time when doing an online search of myself, it came up. Anything I put on my website is not between friends but for the whole world to see. This means that not only what you put on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter do you need to be careful about. You need to be careful about EVERYTHING you put online that is not an email or text message. Yes the recipient of an email or text can share that with others. But that also holds true for what you tell someone verbally or in writing.