Anatomy of a Tweet
— Jarrod Bell (@jbellsd60) November 23, 2012
Many of you familiar with twitter know that RT signifies a Retweet. MT stands for a Modified Tweet or Mention Tweet (thanks to John for the Mention Tweet). I edit some retweets so I can fit in a comment or change a hashtag. When I do, I change the letters RT to MT and leave in the original poster’s name. It’s important when using the MT not to change the intention of the original poster. That would be like putting words in someone else’s mouth or using their words out of context in my opinion.
Here’s an example of a tweet from John Goldsmith (@cyberjohn07) who often posts great resources in the #bclearns hashtag
I thought this would be a good resource for many of our teachers so I wanted to edit and retweet it to my followers with the #sd60 hashtag as well. When I tried to do that it ended up being over the 140 character limit because it adds in RT @cyberjohn07 at the beginning of the tweet. So I changed the RT to MT, deleted the original #bclearns and #sd33 hashtags and then RT @ICTmagic and tweeted out the following:
That’s my take on what is and how to use MT in twitter.
Think before you click. That’s one of the themes of several talks that I do, or emails out to staff around nefarious communications that we receive digitally. One I haven’t talked much about is people using twitter as the medium to get you to click through instead of via email. I received this tweet below yesterday and it had my twitter handle @jbellsd60 (need this for the tweet to come to my attention) and then a shortened link to a website.
Three indications that you shouldn’t follow the link
If you look at the name or twitter handle listed that sent it, Warters Quack, it appears to me to be unlikely to be a real name. Not all services may show the name, but might show the twitter account handle and it may be hard to tell just looking at the handle. Although the handles can often be a string of random letters. In this case the handle was wartersexyny6. I’m using Tweetdeck for OS X in my example.
The name or handle can be your first indication that this is some kind of spam or phishing attempt.
Second indication to me was that there is only a link, no text, no explanation. It might pique your curiosity enough to click it, but don’t.
Lastly these kind of tweets are often accompanied by an avatar (picture for the account) of an attractive woman or something that is meant to draw your attention (ie FREE IPAD graphic).
For the example I did click through to the link and since I’m using internet supplied by the Provincial Learning Network, the website was blocked by the filter. Big red screen.
Fortunate in this case as it if you look at the category below it clearly is a website that would try to entice me to enter my personal info. If you were at home and not using filtering software, you may very likely get through to the site… Think before you click!
Whatever service your are using, or if you are using twitter on its website, there is always a way to report users for spam. When you see this kind of tweet directed to you, please take the time to figure out in your service how to block them and do so. This will help get rid of these accounts and help protect others who might not think before they click.
The BC Government shared this youtube video via twitter (@BCGovNews) regarding Child Abuse Prevention and Awareness
Yesterday I was looking at a local Paper.li which is a service that allows you to build a newspaper from people’s tweets/facebook. Really great web app. I stumbled onto something that led me to what I figured out were a couple of students at our local high school. The tweet was something about loving Mr. Lovell’s class on WWI trench warfare. Mr Lovell is certainly engaging so I did a screenshot and sent it to him.
Being curious about student use of social media I read through some tweets and looked at others they were having conversations with and found others that got my digital footprint hackles up a
little lot. Vulgar comments, sexual comments, other inappropriate comments regarding drug use, parents, people etc. The other unfortunate piece is that the students were using their pictures and their actual names in many cases on their twitter profile. Ya for openness, not so good on appropriateness.
I found one student through the links of mentions that had protected her tweets. Since others hadn’t protected theirs and the conversation was public on one side you could get a bit of a picture of what the discussion was about. The bad thing with a bit of a picture is that our brains draw the rest of the conversation! This led to my tweet of:
I’m concerned here that these digital footprints will follow students around and come back when they least expect it. Perhaps being used against them for a variety of unfortunate scenarios including legal, school, family, friend, work, scholarship, future post secondary, international visa eligibility, future job opportunities etc.
I’m a great proponent of the use of twitter and other social media tools in learning, teaching, and communication. Students need to be made aware that whatever they post online is a digital footprint and can be traced back to them. If more of our admin and teachers were using the tools, this would likely be an easier conversation to have with the students as they have a relationship with them. At least more likely to have a relationship with these students than I would from over here in the board office.
I hope I’ll be able to have a conversation with the staff that can lead to a discussion with the students about using the medium appropriately, instead of a “stop using the medium” tactic.