Protecting your Social Identity

The rapid growth in uptake and adoption of Twitter has been well documented of late, with the UK’s Telegraph.co.uk reporting a year on year increase of 974% in traffic to Twitter in the UK, according to the latest figures from Hitwise.

Once the domain of tech-enthusiasts and early adopters, Twitter has started to hit the mainstream, as evidenced by Jonathon Ross’s (@wossy) introduction of the service to the masses in an interview with Steven Fry (@stevenfry) on this week’s “Friday Night with Jonathon Ross” (BBC1) – Fry boasting a current following of 63,634.

So when Ross finally convinced comedian Russell Brand (@rustyrockets) to jump on the bandwagon on his radio show, its no surprise that with the push from live listenership, Brand could boast over 3000 followers within the hour (and 9000 within 24 hours). What was surprising though, was that no sooner had brand set up @rustyrockets, a member of the general public had set up @rustyrocket with the same profile picture and initial tweets. Furthermore, this profile has managed to siphon 731 followers from the real Russell Brand in under 24 hours.

Cyber-squatting you see is no longer limited to domain names. With the social networking revolution comes an ever increasing ability for impersonators to create havoc. Hopefully by now, you have cemented yourself http://www.yourname.com, whether you intend to use it or not – it’s a small price to pay for needing it at a later date. But have you considered the social world? What about Twitter? Flickr? MySpace? Linked In? or Del.icio.us?

Having these properties available to you, at least on the most popular of social sites could save you a lot of trouble in the long term, should someone wish to impersonate you – not to mention the effectiveness of having a consistent username across all. Thankfully, the arduous task of a manual check is not needed, thanks to tools like Username Check.

Maybe its time you considered protecting your social identity?

This article was kindly contibuted by Nathan McKean (Twitter:@nmkean)

3 Responses to Protecting your Social Identity

  1. James Duthie says:

    In the last 24 hours alone there’s been around 5 Twitter copycats ripping off names of highly recognised US online marketing professionals such as Barry Schwartz & Tamar Weinberg. It looks like they’re using the exact name with a space after the final letter to differentiate themselves (which is invisible to the end user). Luckily word spreads via Twitter pretty quickly, but not generally before they generate hundreds/thousands of followers (and probably spam them).

  2. Thanks for the UsernameCheck link!

  3. Arthur K says:

    Great link. Its worth investing in these names early, and as you say, it might not be necessary now but maybe later.

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