Tag: Twitter

What is social sign-on?

Spotify login screen

Spotify login screen with option to login using Facebook

A trend that is being associated with online services or applications is to provide “social sign-on” for new and existing users of these services. This is based around the concept of single sign-on where you use one set of credentials verified by one service to authenticate with one or more other services. This time, the credential pool that is used for authenticating users is your membership with a social network like Facebook or Twitter. The expression is sometimes extended to cover other authentication-data pools like Microsoft’s authentication services associated with Outlook.com/Hotmail, Windows 8 or XBox; or Google’s authentication services used for GMail and YouTube.

TripAdvisor Webpage

TripAdvisor webpage with social sign-on and personalisation from Facebook

In a social sign-on arrangement, your credentials are held and tested at the social-network’s servers and both the online service and the social network create a unique “token” or “key” to link and authenticate your presence on these services. The common methods that these services use are based around the OAuth or OpenID protocols used for single sign-on across multiple services.

Social sign-on concept diagram

Social sign-on concept diagram – relationship between the social network and online service

As well, your social attributes (name, birthdate, etc) that you have stored on the social network’s servers would be copied in to your account on the online service when this account is being provisioned. You will know about this when your social network pops up a screen asking you whether to allow the online service to gain access to your details held at the social network.

Advantages

There are some key advantages with using a social sign-on setup.

One is to benefit from a simplified provisioning process for your online service. This is without the need to key in the same data across multiple services. It also includes use of a pre-authenticated email address which is considered of high value with forums, commenting facilities and the like because most social networks especially Facebook, Google and Microsoft implement strong measures to combat fraudulent identities.

We also benefit because there are fewer sets of credentials to remember. As well, if a social network implements improved user-security measures like multifactor authentication or “trusted-device” operation, this flows on to the online service we use.

Some of the online services also can provide a personalised experience such as granting you birthday wishes on your birthday, including making those “special birthdays” such as the “big zeros” or the 21sts highly special.

Disadvantages

The disadvantages that can occur include weak links in the authentication protocols and a total dependence on access to and the security of a particular social-network account.

This also encompasses situations where a workplace or school may implement measures to shut out access to social networks in the name of productivity or an oppressive regime may shut out access to the popular social networks to curtail free speech. This can limit access to the online service because of its dependence on the social network.

How can it be operated properly

To assure users of their privacy, a social sign-on setup needs to identify any attributes that it is obtaining from a social network and give the user consent to obtain the attributes. As well, the login procedure should allow for one to create a login that is independent of a social network whether in conjunction with a social-network presence or not.

Similarly, the concept of social sign-on could be exploited by social networks and other authentication services to support simple-but-secure login for living-room applications. This is, from my experience, something that needs to be worked on because such devices require a lot of “pick-and-choose” data entry using a remote control’s D-pad to enter user credentials for online services. As well, many different users are likely to use the same living-room device.

Dealing with Internet trolls

Article

How to kill a troll | Naked Security (Sophos)

My Comments

Anyone who has a personal Internet presence on a message board, social network or similar environment or operates such a presence for their company or other organisation can end up facing the worst side of the Internet.

This is typically in the form of the “Internet trolls” who exist on message boards, social networks, blog comment trails and online chat rooms just to cause trouble. This has manifested in online harassment which is mainly in the form of schoolyard-grade activity like foul names or targeted embarrassment attempts. But there have been acts like physical threats against person, animal and property; stalking, sustained harassment and sexual harassment with young women being the main victims.

It included a situation that I faced regarding a café I regularly visited where their Facebook presence was tarnished with foul comments because the business didn’t permit a protest group to put some flyers about their campaign by their cash register. Here, I was defending the café in their stance regarding what had happened.

But what can you do? You could block the accounts where the behaviour is coming and implement technological measures that do this for you. Here, such measures work on logic like blocking relatively young accounts that mention you, accounts with very few followers that mention you or accounts that generate replies containing certain keywords.

On the other hand, you could embarrass the source of the comments. This plays on various analogies associated with social taboos like in-workplace sexual harassment where a person isn’t just hauled up before law courts but the court of public opinion doesn’t look favourably on them. This would be hard to implement in the online world due to the ease in which one can create an anonymous online presence such as with the use of multiple disposable emails or pseudonyms.

Some countries like the UK have given their online-harassment laws more teeth such as legislating for longer prison terms. To the same extent, we should be encouraged to use all of the civil and criminal laws available to us as a tool to deal with Internet trolls, but a key problem is working with the problem from a cross-jurisdictional angle. This is where you identify that the activity is appearing from another state within the same country in the case of countries like Germany, Australia and USA, or another country; such as someone residing in the UK being harassed by someone using a computer located in New York State in the USA.

As well, there have been various PR activities to pillory the trolls such as Mary Beard’s activity after being victimised by schoolyard-grade online behaviour. She wasn’t afraid to speak her mind on British TV and had her friends and supporters work together to “fight back” against the troublemakers. Businesses and organisations who have been “got at” by trolls can use their loyal support base who have an active online presence such as their regular customers to work together for this same goal. 

Let’s not forget that the channels that exist to report trouble on a social network, bulletin board, chat forum or the like do exist for you to report this kind of trouble.

Personally, I would encourage any campaign to crack down on Internet trolling to be done as a group of many people. They can pool resources and use their contacts to work together to defend the people who are being affected or make life hard for the troublemakers. This can manifest in using technological tools to limit their effect on the affected forums, using civil and criminal legal action against the troublemakers or use online and offline public-relations efforts with a view to pillory them.

Sometimes some disturbing situations that happen with social networking, Internet forums, instant messaging and the like may require you to simply ignore or block trouble on the Internet but others may require you to work actively against it.

What can you do about people who use the Social Web to menace

Articles

Twitter, Facebook must be more diligent | Technology | BigPond News

Expert says Dawson broke the first rule of social media: don’t feed the trolls | Sydney Morning Herald

My Comments

The Charlotte Dawson saga that has been over the Australian news media over the last week has become a wake-up call regarding the nature of the Social Web and the Internet in general when it comes to the ability to leave unverified irrational comments against people or organisations.

This is where social networks, bulletin boards, forums and similar services are used as a platform to launch an attack against a person. Here, it can manifest in ways such as a caustic remark left on a Facebook profile or a forum; through a barrage of tweets or instant messages of abuse fired at a person or, at worst, a Facebook Page, YouTube video or something similar can be set up to pillory that person.

Even before the Social Web became mainstream, there was the issue of free Web hosts and the “export to HTML” function in recent word processors and affordable desktop-publishing software being used to quickly set up defamatory Web sites against people. This situation was then underscored by the use of cost-effective camera-equipped mobile phones to create distasteful videos to appear on these sites or to send across to others via email or MMS.

Some press articles raised the issue of how easier it has become to leave improper comments on the Social Web, Web-hosted forums and the like without being traced back easily. This is even though most of these services have mechanisms for the Webmaster or others in charge to control scurrilous behaviour, including a reporting mechanism for others who are aggrieved by the behaviour to let those in charge know. As well, these mechanisms are underscored by the terms and conditions that users have to assent to when they become a member of these services.

Even before the rise of the Internet, there was common advice that was offered regarding nuisance phone calls and similar behaviour involving communications services/ For example, one was advised to simply to hang up on a nuisance call and, if the activity persisted, to report the matter to the telecommunications company and the police.

This was also underscored by most countries having laws in place that proscribes the use of a “common carriage service” to harrass, menace or threaten others. The reference to the “common carriage service” is a legal term used to describe telephone, post or similar services used by everyone as a communications tool.

What can you do

What most of us have to be aware of is not to satisfy the cyber-bully’s wants by leaving responses to the caustic remarks or passing on the comments in the common space that the platform offers.

If the behaviour persists, we have to know how to “block” or “unfriend” the troublemakers in the case of social media. There is the ability to report the matter to the social-media platform’s “report this” option where it draws the behaviour to the attention of the platform’s administrators.

In the case of forums, blogs or wikis, you should contact the site owner or administrator through the contact options that exist on the site. There will usually be a “Contact Us” link somewhere on the forum, usually on the login screen.

The only situation that can be difficult is a Website that is hastily built up to pillory another person. It may be difficult to track down the owner of the domain name if the domain name isn’t an obvious hosting domain like wordpress.com associated with a particular Web host. Here, you may have to do “whois” searches oh the domain and locate the entity owning the domain. In the case of a subdomain of a hosting domain, you may have to go the the “www” site of that hosting domain to track down who is operating the site.

Aggrieved people should also be aware of local support services especially where there is a risk of depression being brought on by this activity. Some of these services focus particularly on the cyber-bullying menace and provide online or telephone-based advice.  Of course, your friends or family whom you trust can help out with these situations.

Thinking of “resting” that Facebook account? What can you do to make sure it’s there?

Introduction

Some of you may have dabbled in Facebook or other social networks but then find that you are “sick and tired” of operating them. Then what you end up doing is ceasing to log in to your account. Your friends or followers hear nothing from you and you don’t follow up on activity from the people who are or could be in the social network.

You may even tie your account to an email account that you subsequently cease to use like one associated with your previous ISP or employer; or a Webmail account that you have forgotten about.

These accounts end up with a “pile-up” of friend requests and other people using the social network end up thinking you’re not there. The potential friends may even be considered “spammy” by the social network as they end up with many pending friend requests.

But some of you may want to keep the account alive for such efforts as “keeping in the loop” while travelling or keeping in contact with distant family and friends.

There are some people who may think that it is an act of sacrilege to engage with Facebook, MySpace or Twitter when they have broken off from the network as a statement of their beliefs or actions. The people who I am targeting this post at are the ones who simply abandon these accounts after a fair bit of seasonal activity.

Leave an off-the-air post

When you think that you will be going “off the air” with the social network, write up a public post that says that you will be scaling back your presence on the social network. This lets everyone know that you are OK but won’t be appearing as regularly as you would have done.

Set up notifications

A good practice is to make use of the notification function that the social network has. Here, you could set up your social network’s notification function to send you a summary email post of notifications concerning your account;s activity.

In this arrangement, you should know if someone sends you a direct message, adds you as a friend or follower or confirms a friend request that you instigated. If the social network supports a suggestion framework, you could be notified if someone suggests a member or page for you to link up with on the platform.

Similarly, you can set the email notification to notify you of friends’ birthdays and if your posts or photos have been tagged or someone has tagged you in a post or photo.

When you set the email address, set it to the current email inbox that you are using on a regular basis and keep these email addresses registered with the social network up to date.

Regular “drop in” to your social network

Once a month to once every two / three months, log in and post something or leave a comment on a post or photo so people know you’re “there”.

If you have something for sale, login to Facebook or your other social networks and post a public post with a picture of the item for sale and / or a link to the eBay or “online mart” page you are using to advertising it so your Facebook Friends and others on the network can know it’s for sale.

Here, you don’t forget the login parameters for your account and know that it still exists. This can come in handy if you do want to operate you account frequently like as part of a special trip or event.

It is also worth knowing that some social networks like Facebook, Twitter and Google+ can work as an anchor to a “single-sign-on” mechanism. Here, people can use the credentials associated with these social networks to enrol with and log in to forums, blogs and similar services. If you do have an opportunity to do so, use one of these social-networks that you are enrolled in as credentials for a forum that you are joining in.

Conclusion

Keeping regular tabs on a social network that you had participated in frequently before is a way of knowing that you still exist on it and that people don’t think you have fallen off the earth if you have deserted it.

Twitter–who see what and when

Another increasingly-popular social network service is Twitter. This was intended as a “microblogging” service but some people have been implementing it as another social network.

Like the similar Facebook article that I have written for Facebook novices, this will list who will see which information you post when you use Twitter. Here, I would recommend this as a bookmark or favourite or as something to print out and keep near the computer or have available on the business intranet.

Twitter lexicon

Tweet A public Twitter post. Also to leave a public post on Twitter
Follow To subscribe to a Twitter user’s Tweets (public comments)
Follower A person who subscribes to a user’s Tweets. Is also capable of receiving direct messages from the users they follow.
Hashtag A reference tag that is preceded by a # (hash) symbol and is used for filtering Tweets on a topic. Used primarily in front of cities, TV shows, brands, etc.
Mention or Reply A Tweet that features a Twitter user with that user’s name preceded by an @ symbol.

Who sees what

What you do Who sees this  
When you post a Tweet All your Twitter Followers  
When you Retweet someone’s else’s Tweet All your Twitter Followers Your followers will see the original Tweet suffixed by “Retweeted by <your_user_name>”
When you reply to someone else’s Tweet or mention another user in your Tweet All your Twitter Followers The Tweet will have the other person’s username preceded by the @ symbol and the user will be able to see the mentions or replies in the “reply / mention” filter
When you send a direct message to a Follower Only that specific Follower that you address Your Follower has to be following you to be able to be contacted by a Direct Message

What to do where on Twitter

General comment or broadcast message Post a Tweet Be careful what you write as all followers or potential followers can see what you write.
Reply to someone else’s Tweet or mention a Twitter user where confidentiality isn’t required Post the tweet using the Reply or Mention tools Again, be careful what you say when you write these posts.

This can be good for congratulating the user or offering some sympathy on an event they Tweeted about.

Direct private message to a Follower Post a Direct Message  

 

If someone follows you on your Twitter account, it may be a good idea to check that person out when you receive the notification by email. Here, you could then consider following that person and being able to use direct messaging as appropriately.

It is also worth noting that a lot of social Twitter users use “textspeak” (abbreviations and acronyms for common expressions used when sending SMS messages) when they send out Tweets. So you may have to use resources like the Urban Dictionary to help you understand some of this lingo.

Bridging common Internet technology with the courtroom

Article

BBC News – Byte-sized revolution heralds Twitter in Scottish court

My Comments

Over the many hundreds of years, the courts of justice, especially those countries that work to British common law like the UK and Australia, have been overly cautious about the use of recording and reporting technology during the cases brought before them.

Now, a sentencing hearing held in the Scottish High Court has become the first courtroom venue to allow the use of Twitter to permit dissemination of information by observers. The Twitter-based technology would have worked well with remand and sentencing hearings in criminal cases or the conclusion of a case; where there are short exchanges. As well, these hearings, especially the remand hearings may work as a logical bookmark for a court case. On the other hand, “blog-type” reporting, where a regular bulletin is published on a Web page; at the end of each day’s proceedings, could become relevant for long-form civil and criminal cases.

One main concern that the judiciary would have about this is the protection of justice against situations like “trial by media”. It also may be of concern with criminal, family and other cases involving children or other vulnerable people and there is a desire in these cases to limit exposure of these people to pejorative media coverage.

I would suggest that the judiciary investigate the issue of the courtroom and the Internet through various means. This could include integration of questions regarding Web coverage of cases being part of specific cases across the legal fabric; trial-running of specific provisions in particular hearings or cases like what the Scottish High Court had done and even having particular cases of common interest being live-blogged by trusted reporters. As well, lawyers, judges and magistrates who have valuable knowledge or experience concerning the online courtroom should be encouraged to publish their findings as much as possible. The legislative pillar of government should also investigate this topic in case laws have to be revised concerning this practice.

As well, there could be investigation in to secure RSS feeds as a technological measure for the justice system. This is where people have to be authenticated before the can have access to this feed. This could be extended to a courthouse running a case-specific “keep-u-posted” RSS feed service searchable by case number or participant so that people who are part of or are following a case can know what is going.

Once the judiciary investigates the feasibility of the “online courtroom”, they can integrate this pillar of government in to the “e-government” agenda. As well, those who do cover a court case using live-blogging or other online techniques need to keep core principles of justice in their minds.

Surfing the Net while watching TV – now the thing amongst the young

 

76% of 18 to 24-year-olds Browse the Internet While Watching TV | eHomeUpgrade

My comments

I have read the eHomeUpgrade article about how young people are surfing the Web while they are watching TV. There are various factors that I have observed that are encouraging this kind of activity and are based a lot on observation and experience.

Younger people being more likely to be tech-savvy

Ever since the 1980s, information technology has become a key part of one’s education in most school curriculums. Initially this started off with “computer studies” or something similarly-named being a secondary-school subject, but has moved towards computer use being integrated in to regular school studies over the last twenty years.

Similarly, most younger people have been known to adopt to newer technologies more easily than people of older age groups. This typically has been noticed by the “kids” being the ones who can work consumer-electronics devices beyond the basic requirements like setting the clock on a video recorder, or being “nimble-fingered” with the mobile phone’s keypad to send text messages.  

The current home-computing environments that promote this activity

One is the proliferation of laptops, notebooks, netbooks and similar portable computers available new or secondhand at prices that most could afford as well as smartphones that have integrated Web-browsing capability being available under subsidised-handset contract. All these devices are equipped with an integrated Wi-Fi wireless-network adaptor which allows for use-anywhere functionality.

They would typically be used in a Wi-Fi-based home networks which has coverage that extends to areas where a television set would be located like the lounge room. Another situation that also commonly exists would be the colocation of a TV set and a a computer in a teenager’s own bedroom or the lounge areas that teenagers or other young people primarily use like “games rooms”, “rumpus rooms” or simply the secondary lobby in a two-storey house.

These setups would encourage the use of an Internet-connected computer while watching TV shows, which I have seen a lot of at home with a teenager who was often had a laptop going while watching TV.

TV shows running Websites

As well, most TV studios are operating programme-specific Websites that are seen as a way of extending the programme’s value. This typically includes the providing of extra video material, Web downloads, forums and the like and is often used as a way to make the show appeal to the younger generation.

It is also supplemented by information pages like Internet Movie Database and epguides.com as well as fan-created “unofficial” Websites for the various TV shows and show genres. They will have such information like episode guides with season, episode an “first-screen” information as well as biographies for the characters in the show, cast and crew details.

In some cases, this is also tied in with Web-based “catch-up TV” where you can see recently-screened episodes as well as supplementary video material.

The Social Web

This leads me to the Social Web being the primary reason for surfing the Web while watching TV. Here, viewers use the show’s Web forums, Twitter, Facebook and MySpace to chat with like-minded friends and fans, and in the case of the social networks, use “official front ends” like Facebook Pages and Twitter hashtags to participate with the show. Some TV shows like, panel shows or reality-TV shows may link these feeds in to the show’s fabric by having the compere read out selected content from the Social Web or have a ticker at the bottom of the screen showing similar information. An example of this is when ABC-TV Australia was running “Q and A” on Monday nights, they had a Twitter hashtag called #qanda and all of the Tweets with this hashtag appeared as a ticker on the bottom of the screen.

Recently there have been some social-network sites centred around TV shows where one can “check in” and chat with like-minded viewers about favourite shows.

The various social networks have been made easier to use with smartphones and similar devices either through a client app written for the popular smartphone and “Web-tablet” platforms or a handheld-optimised “mobile view” of the social network’s Web view.

Conclusion

The combination of technologically-astute young people, ubiquitous portable computers, the home network and the Internet, TV-show Websites and the Social Web all reinforce the fact that TV isn’t for lounging in front of anymore.

Tweet this on your lounge-room TV with Panasonic

 

Panasonic Adds A Twitter App To Its Viera Cast Plasma HDTVS

My Comments

First, they did it by enabling video conferencing with Skype, now Panasonic are allowing you to Tweet a comment about that show you are watching or follow your Twitter friends on your lounge-room TV. Who knows not if but when Facebook will become the next add-on for Panasonic’s Viera-Cast TVs and Blu-Ray players. These sets will also need to work with a remote control that has a QWERTY alphanumeric keyboard so you you can get those Tweets or status updates out as that show progresses.

This happens to be highly relevant as an increasing number of television shows, mainly sports, talk shows, current-event broadcasts, reality TV and the like integrate Twitter in to their content and have set up a particular hashtag associated with that show. This typically includes the use of a “Twitter crawl” that appears at the bottom of the screen and / or the show’s compere or anchor citing selected Tweets directed at the show.

It is becoming the direction for manufacturers to extend the common social-Web and Internet-driven-communications platforms to a “10-foot” experience on the lounge-room TV or video peripheral (Blu-Ray player or “personal-TV service”) either by providing the function as an “app” that you choose from an “app-menu” or “app-store”; or as part of a firmware update that is rolled out to the device.

This may require a change in the direction on how the remote control for the TV set is designed. This may be in the form of a handset that mimics the Nokia N97 Mini smartphone where the top of the remote swings away to reveal a QWERTY keypad; a handset that looks like a BlackBerry or Nokia E-Series smartphone or simply an app for the common smartphone platforms which provides TV control as well as a link between the phone’s text-entry keyboard and the TV. It may also mean that the infra-red remote control will go the way of the ultrasonic remote control and be replaced by a Bluetooth or Wi-Fi remote control. Other solutions may also include support for standards-based Bluetooth keyboards like the Logitech diNovo Mini or Microsoft’s Media Center keyboards.

In this case, there will need to be an interest in designing more of the multimedia keyboards that appeal to being operated while you are slouching on the couch. This will mean keyboards that are backlit when they are used, small keyboards that can be worked with two thumbs; keyboards resistant to damage from crisps (US: chips) and sweet drinks that are often consumed in front of the telly and elegant-design keyboards.

Now it will certainly mean that the TV isn’t just for watching your favourite shows any more. It will also be about integrating the social Web with the experience.