Is there A Way To Know Who Is Stalking Your Twitter
Everyone on your list of Twitter followers is a possible stalker. Twitter, more than Facebook, facilitates stalking. Simply return to your followers and attempt to recall how many of them you remember the initial point of contact.
With Twitter, it all begins simple: an email arrives in your already overflowing inbox informing you that someone has begun following you. Thank you, tweets are required by Twitter etiquette. A busy day, on the other hand, has much more urgent needs. An “anonymous” buddy has just entered your life.
Are we being too cautious? Is the social sphere populated by more online acquaintances than friends? It may be when the ‘friend’ begins smothering you with tweets that go above and beyond usual boundaries – a typical instance of Twitter stalking.
Cyberstalking Is a Real and Present Threat
On a daily basis, celebrities and internet personalities utilize Twitter more than something like Facebook (some celeb Facebook pages are maintained by their agents and media managers). It’s also quicker to type 140 characters than it is to post a second or second-to-second Facebook status update. When you add check-in applications like Foursquare to Twitter, a prospective stalker or cyber-stalker will be aware of your whereabouts. Allow me to redirect your attention to two recent pieces that illustrate the dangers lurking in Twitter’s social quagmire.
The Telegraph reported on many instances of celebrity stalking involving prominent personalities such as Kylie Minogue (see above) and even Mark Zuckerberg. Even more troubling, a Japanese writer showed in an experiment how someone might track Twitter users down in real life just by utilizing their Twitter feeds. To be sure, this occurred because both participants of the experiment gave up a lot of personal information through their tweets, but it does raise the question of how much personal information we actually share via our social networks.
Twitter is a wide-open door for cyber stalkers since it is so simple to get a grip on someone you wish to follow.
Identifying a Twitter Stalker Using These Signs
The term from Urban Dictionary above is completely harmless. The difference between a follower and a stalker may be tough to discern from a few tweets. How can you find one in the midst of your followers? It reminds me of when I first started using Yahoo Messenger and started a chat with ‘ASL.’ You have no idea who was on the other end of the line. Despite Twitter usernames and bio-lines, we still don’t.
Is someone tweeting you too often (for example, direct messages, @replies)? Be on the lookout for the red flag of someone misusing the @reply or @mention feature to send unwanted messages to other users. Put it in the context of your personal relationship with the individual, and you’ve got your first sure-fire indication of Twitter stalking.
You don’t have to follow everyone, and no one has to follow you. There is safety in numbers of the less dangerous kind here. I personally believe that having a big number of followers has no merit. While Twitter is an excellent marketing tool, a blind click and inclusion policy is also a double-edged sword.
To evaluate your following, use Twitter applications such as Twitter Counter [Broken URL Removed] and Twee sect.
When the never-ending messages shift to demands for video chat or more comprehensive conversations, or even ‘alarmingly’ a desire to meet face to person, it’s a warning sign that you’re being stalked on Twitter.
Keep an eye out if the individual attempts to infiltrate your online social network as well.
If you attend Tweetups, you should also keep a watch out for Twitter stalkers. Do you ever run across him (or her) at areas you frequent?
When I see someone with a skewed following-to-follower ratio, I stop for a moment. Of course, this does not imply that a Tweep with a greater following number than a follower one is a cyber-stalker, since we all began off that way, but it is worth considering.
Twitter is also an excellent source of new information. It brings us into touch with individuals from whom we may learn so much. I attempt to follow each member’s Twitter accounts and blogs, if they have one. A Google search of their names shows a lot as well. I learn about the individuals that follow me and why they may be interested in what I’m tweeting. Of course, the modest me does not anticipate a stalker, but the internet is rife with trolls and other ‘personalities’ eager to create trouble.
Defending Against a Twitter Stalker
The watchword is vigilance. Maintain vigilance over your account and the personal information you provide. If you are awake when someone befriends you on Twitter, you will have built the first cyber stalker force field. But here are some ideas that aren’t as drastic as drawing a gun but should assist you just as much.
Unfollow a Follower
Go to the user’s profile page and choose Block from the menu (the tiny silhouette symbol). Users who have blocked you are unable to follow you or add you to any of their lists. If your public profile page is not secured, a banned user will be able to see it. They are unable to DM you, but their @replies are accessible to everyone else. (Source: Twitter Help Center)
Assign as Spam
You have the option of reporting an offending account as spam. It is possible to report spam to the same symbol as above by clicking on Report @username for spam. Twitter will investigate the account and prevent the person from following you or responding to you. (Twitter Help Center link)
To get your point through, engage in a direct message-to-direct-message discussion with the offended person.
Take Caution When Using Check-In Apps
Check-in applications that are also linked with Twitter (including Twitter’s own geo-locator) should be used with caution since they broadcast your location to stalkers.
Quit Stalking Me, the National Center for Victims of Crime, and Wired Safety are excellent locations to complain and seek recourse. Each nation (and state) has its own set of cyber stalking and cybercrime laws.
The Twitter timeline is a blank canvas. There is a thin line between open networking and Neanderthal savagery.