Cатсн²² (in)sесuяitу / ChrisJohnRiley

Because we're damned if we do, and we're damned if we don't!

Tag Archives: twitter

Klout: Because we’re all special little snowflakes!

I’ve never really been interested in the whole “I’ve got more followers than you” stuff people on twitter sometimes get into. At least, not to some crazy level. Sure, I checked my follower list every now and then (mostly just to cull the spammers etc..) but that’s about as far as it went. Still, when I moved over to using Seesmic I couldn’t help but see these odd little >K symbols and final, curiosity got the better of me.

What I found on Klout when I signed on was interesting, at least interesting enough for me to share with you guys…

Wow.. look, aren’t I special. I’ve got a Klout of 61! Yes, I have no idea what 61 means, there’s no range here… 61 out of 62 is high… 61 out of 1000 not so much. Great start. So far you’ve reduced me to a number and asked me to share that with the world! I’m gonna go out on a limb here and so, no I won’t be sharing that useless fact!

So… lets see what other gems they have for me shall we. Lets start off with the profile and see what they can tell me that I don’t already know about myself. After all, they know things I don’t I’m sure.

Ok, seriously, I get that 61 is a big thing for you, but I’ve still no idea what the scale is, so for me, it’s kinda like a big sign that say “Dunce”. What else do you have for me. Ok I’m an influencer of 1K (I’m guessing that’s 1 thousand, although I doubt that highly… why would anybody listen to a chump like me for goodness sake!). Ok, now this makes more sense… apparently I’m influential about Information Security, hacking, and popcorn! This must be some sort of weird twisted version of me that likes to eat sweat (and/or salty) snacks and talk about them endlessly on social media! It’s a strange world… but wait a minute. It says I’m a specialist! At least it didn’t say thought leader (hint: checkout my Eurotrash Security co-host @CraigBalding’s Klout page).

So what is a specialist, at least according to Klout. Ah such nice words… I’m not a celebrity (thank fuck for that) but I’m still special… it’s like Klout is somehow there to reinforce people’s ego and make them feel less like the people they really are. Lots of tweeting about a single topic doesn’t make you a specialist… it makes you a loudmouth who doesn’t know when to shut up.

I disagree with your opinions here Mr Klout sir… so, some playing around in the DOM will fix this up quick proper I think! A little tweak here, a correction there….

There, that looks so much better than before. I wonder what other misguided ideas they have about me. Lets take a little look in the score analysis. Ooooh look, pretty charts with lines on them. They go upwards, this must mean that something great is happening right? Pity the history only goes back a month or so. Guess they don’t like large (i.e. realistic) data sets. Well at least they give a scale on some of these things. Still, just a chart on its own doesn’t help much. Lets see if I can compare a chart from me to a chart from somebody who really HAS some Klout… HD Moore for example. (sorry HD, first name that came to mind)

Wow… if there was ever a result that made you realize that these sort of sites were as useless as a chocolate teapot, it’s this one.

(Almost) no words come to mind to describe this… but I’ll try, as it is a blog after all.

If you think services like this offer you a realistic outlook on who YOU are, then you really need to rethink these misconceptions.

This whole “everybody is special” thing has been taken to the nth degree. Do you think Klout (or any other such service for that matter) is going to tell you that you suck! That you’re boring and nobody cares what you have to say! No… they’re going to tell you what you want to hear using stats, nice graphs and the virtual pat on the back to tell you that you’re great. You’ve unlocked the “Pat on the back” achievement.

None of this makes a difference. People don’t ignore other people who’s Klout number is less than theirs, and I certainly don’t respect people who have a high Klout number especially. Numbers can say anything you want them to say. They can also lie to you.

TL:DR – Stats like this are based on false logic, bad stats and a desire to make you feel “special” about yourself… be your own little special snowflake and ignore this kind of thing! Talk about what you want to talk about, don’t bow to the pressure to be something you’re not!

Strange twitterings from the BBC

Earlier today I was catching up on some tidbits of world news from various sources when I stumbled across something that caught my eye. BBC World News offer a twitter feed of their latest headlines. I sometimes browse the list to see whats going on in the world and to reaffirm my opinion that we’re all doomed. Today however a specific article in the list caught my eye.

“It’s Time To Legalize Cannabis.”

This snippet of news, and the associated link didn’t really fit with the other news. For starters the capitalisation and use of the American spelling of legalize (legalise). There was also the fact that a majority of other news snippets started off with BBC Business News, whereas this didn’t. By using Twitters search function I could also see that the exact same tweet had been sent out on a regular basis for at least 10 days (possibly longer). The last thing that made me think this wasn’t really a tweet from BBC_News_World was the from label under the tweet

bbc_news

Whereas all other tweets come from Twitterfeed, these are the only ones that report to come from twitRobot. Very strange.

By pulling up the link on a test system the bit.ly link took me to a Facebook cause with the same title at the tweets posted through the BBC Twitter feed “It’s Time To Legalize Cannabis”.

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By pulling up the bit.ly statistics I could see that this link had been actively used since the end of September and had been clicked over 665 times. It also showed the original creator of the link as a user called therealtwitter. This appears to be the name used when Twitter automatically shortens a URL in a post for the user. So no tracking information there unfortunately.

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More detailed information can be found on the bit.ly info page for this link. Including breakdown of clicks by country and clicks by referrer. By looking at the referrer stats it’s evident that this bit.ly link is also being sent out through email and IM.

Although the Facebook cause at the end of the link appears benign at first appearance, it certainly warrants further investigation into why this link is spreading through the BBC Twitter feed (possibly without their knowledge). This cause could be something as simple as a person trying to drum up members for their cause. Then again it could just as easily be a phishing site designed to steal logon credentials, or perform attacks against the users browser. Further work is needed to see exactly whats behind this.

If I receive response regarding this I’ll certainly post a followup. Until then, watch out just incase.

Twitter moves to protect against TinyURL attacks

It’s been a topic of conversation for a while now. The use of TinyURL’s within Twitter and other social media sites. For those of you who don’t know what a TinyURL is, I’ll give an example.

I want to post you a link to my website, however with Twitter I only have a maximum of 140 characters. To maximise the space and make things easier for users, the Twitter gods decided to convert the (usually) long links into a smaller link using the TinyURL service. You can checkout the service for yourself. You simply paste in the long link and get back a smaller one that still works the same way.

FULL URL –> http://c22blog.wordpress.com/2009/02/07/mobile-devices-lowering-web-security/

TinyURL –> http://tinyurl.com/btsfs5

As you can see, the second one is a lot easier to read and pass on. Anyway, back to the point at hand.

Twitter have implemented a new feature (currently restricted to their search.twitter.com area) that adds an [expand] button after the TinyURL. As you can imagine, this allows you to expand the link and see where it really points to. This is obviously a good thing for security, as you never know where that TinyURL could take you. XSS attacks are all around us ;)

Expand link --> search.twitter.com

Expand link @ search.twitter.com

contract link @ search.twitter.com

contract link @ search.twitter.com

Here’s hoping that the feature comes to the standard Twitter time-line soon.

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