Know When to Email, Facebook, Text, or Call

Technology continues to give us new ways of interacting with each other.  Things like cell phones, Facebook, texting, and email are supposed to make communicating easier, but often knowing which to use is confusing (especially now that you can do all four from the same device if you own a smart phone!).  EarthLink has put together a handy guide to help you know when to use what method of communication…Phone Call: Phone calls should be made when both parties wish to contribute to an extended conversation.  If you and an old friend need to catch up, a co-worker needs to explain a process to you (and you need to ask questions in return), or you need to talk to someone you want to see in person, but can’t, use the phone.

Email: Email is wonderful for sharing simple media (like photos), sending invitations, or having inactive conversations.  [Inactive conversations are conversations where replies are expected, but not time sensitive]  It’s also a great way to send follow ups to phone calls (for example, if you had a work training call, an email with a summary of what was covered would be appropriate) and to and to update multiple people at once with private information (such as “Here are the details for the surprise party!”)

Text: Texts are the perfect tools for quick conversations that require few replies (“Want to meet at 3 instead of 2?” “Yes!” “Great; see you then.”), for sending quick reminders (“Don’t forget the milk on your way home!”) or statements that don’t require an answer (“Thanks for the movie recommendation.  I loved it!”).  It can also be used as a way to talk when out-loud conversation isn’t possible (such as in a library or public transit), but make sure the person you’re texting with is willing to finger type as long as you are.

Facebook: Simple rule: don’t post anything on Facebook that you don’t want others to see.  Facebook is a wonderful way to send personalized messages that you don’t mind others enjoying (example: if you and your friend had a great time at a restaurant you’d also like to passively refer, posting “I had a great time at TheNiceRestaurant with you!” on a friend’s wall is more than appropriate), or to share opinions/media that you want to share, but not specifically (example: posting a YouTube video you enjoy in your status so everyone can view it).  Facebook also has a personal messaging service that acts exactly like email, but we recommend using it only if someone requests you contact them there instead of their email.

Top Twitter Hashtags and Topics for 2011

Twitter was big Internet news in 2011 as more and more people, such as Jerry Seinfeld, and businesses, such as EarthLink (you can follow us here), started using the social network to communicate and share.

Twitter 2011 Year in Review

But what was the big news on Twitter? Well, Twitter has released their official Year in Review, and it turns out what was popular was both the biggest, most momentous events – the revolution in Egypt, the raid on Osama bin Laden, and the earthquake and tsunami in Japan – and more trivial items – such as Rebecca Black and Fried Kook-Aid.

Quality and popularity sometimes drives tweets, but sometimes not. Take the movies, for example. Top 5 tweeted movies were Thor, The Dark Knight Rises, X-Men First Class, Fast Five, and Green Hornet, which probably won’t be the top Oscar nominees this year or the top 5 in box office.

In tech, Apple has to be happy with their Twitter buzz for 2011. Four of the top 10 tweeted tech products were from Apple (App Store, iPad, iPhone, iPod).

#1 on Twitter by Topic in 2011:

  • Hashtags: #egypt
  • World News: Mubarak’s resignation
  • Cities & Countries: Cairo
  • Tech: Mac App Store
  • Food & Drink: McLobster
  • Football: Dallas
  • NBA: Rashard Lewis
  • Baseball: Texas Rangers
  • Soccer: Wayne Rooney
  • Television: Pretty Little Liars
  • Movies: Thor
  • Music: Rebecca Black and Friday
  • Actresses: Elizabeth Taylor
  • Actors: Charlie Sheen

See a complete list of top tweets by topic. Or the greatest tweets per second for each month of the year. Or the top retweet of the year, which raised over $50,000 for foster children. You can also read about some great Twitter stories here.

Here’s to a great 2012 on Twitter! And remember to follow us there.

New Viruses Target Social Networking Sites, Twitter, Facebook and MySpace

The New Your Times recently published an article titled Viruses That Leave Victims Red in the Facebook. The article describes a new type of virus that targets Twitter and Facebook users. The virus hijacks a user’s social networking account and then transmits spam and viruses via emails to the victim’s Twitter or Facebook contacts. What makes these attacks so effective is that they originate from trusted sources.

As social networking viruses become more ubiquitous (Kaspersky Labs says that on some days, one in 500 links on Twitter point to bad sites that can infect an inadequately protected computer with typical viruses) it is important to be cautious. Do not click on suspicious links you receive from friends on social networking sites. If your social network account password is too simple, a fraudster can use techniques to take over the account (also known as hijacking) and send email messages to everyone in their friends list or address book. Follow these simple password security rules:

  • Don’t use a real word that can be looked up in a dictionary or a familiar pattern such as 12345.
  • Use a combination of letters numbers and special characters that can’t be connected back to any of your personal information.
  • Use upper and lower case letters and number combinations.
  • Password lengths should be 8 characters or greater.
  • Change passwords regularly.
  • Do not use the same password for all online accounts.

If you suspect a friend’s account has been compromised, do not access any suspect messages. Contact your friend directly and notifying them of the problem.