What are twitter stalkers and how to deal with them, this the topic of today. Don’t worry, this isn’t one of those alarming articles meant to panic you into reading. It isn’t even a post that is going to try to convince you to get rid of your social media presence. In fact, I am a big fan of Twitter, Facebook and several other social media websites. I can’t help it, I am a sucker for social technology.
But it is a small warning. Because, like it or not, social networking can be dangerous. Especially for anyone who allows people they don’t personally know well to access their data. Which, let’s be honest here, is all of us.
What Is A Twitter Stalker?
Exactly what it sounds like: a person who uses Twitter to stalk you. If you are lucky, this just means they won’t leave you alone on the website. If you are unlucky, they will use what information they gather to track you down in real life. Especially if you have other social media profiles such as Facebook and FourSquare, which can give them more information.
This also might refer to a person who uses Twitter to intimidate or threaten you. Celebrities often come across this problem. One recent example was Kylie Minogue, who had to call the police when a man threatened to harm her through a personal message.
How Do I Know If I Have A Twitter Stalker?
The simple answer is to accept that any anonymous or unknown follower is potentially a stalker. That doesn’t mean they are, or should be treated as such, but that you accept the possibility for your own safety.
Another red flag is excessive attention from someone you don’t know, or know well. For example, if they abuse the @ feature and continuously tag you, refer to you or speak to you with no real reason behind the contact.
This also applies to private messages. If they continue to write you despite you not showing an interest in conversation, you could have a problem. The content of those messages should give you an idea, as well. Such as them asking to meet in person, trying to gain too many details or seemingly following you to other websites.
How Can I Protect Myself?
The best way to deal with Twitter stalkers is to protect yourself against ever having one.
- Know who your followers are. I am not going to pretend that you should only have people you know face to face, and well, on your Twitter. That defeats the purpose of using it for marketing, professional and even wider social use. But that doesn’t mean you can’t take some time to look into unfamiliar followers.
- Keep a list of “red flag” users. If you have noticed some of the odd behavior mentioned above in some of your followers, put them on a watch list. From there, check up on who they are and why they are following you.
- Watch for anyone infiltrating your social circle. Having a few friends in common with someone is normal. But having several in common with someone you don’t know is a little more strange. If you notice someone who seems to be following a larger social circle you are a part of, ask other if they know who they are and establish a link.
- Keep your tweets private. If you are using Twitter casually, then there is no reason to show all your tweets to the word. By making them private, you can control every person who is on your feed.
You might think it is over dramatic, but Twitter stalkers really happen. When you share certain information, they can easily follow it to more websites, and so build a bigger profile of your life. Just think of what you share on your feed. Facebook pages, Pinterest links, your personal blog, your email address, your name…not much is needed to track a person online these days.
It doesn’t mean you have to be paranoid, but you should be cautious. Keep in mind that the Internet is full of strangers. If you wouldn’t go up to a strange man in a shopping mall and start listing personal details of your life, why would you do it over the web?
Jessy is the social media addict and Twitter marketing strategist for Dobovo, the free social-media-friendly travel app.
Image Credits: 1, 2, 3.