Thursday, March 31, 2011

Why I Don't Use Social Media (Much)

Creepy is a software application that, when you type in someone's twitter username, downloads and gathers every tweet they've ever posted, every photo they've ever uploaded,  extracts the location data from them (apparently this is recorded  when you take a shot on a cell-phone), and displays the results in map form as above.   So if they post alot from their house, or place of employment, you can find out where they live or work.

I've actually downloaded the software and lets just say its a bit buggy, not recognizing obvious usernames and encountering all sorts of errors when trying to down-load pictures.  All the X girlfriends who dumped me have nothing to worry about. Nevertheless one twitter user, chosen at random from politwitter (and I'll leave their name out of it), gave the result above.  A rather useful tool, under some circumstances.  Also rather sinister.


Lorne said...

I have to say that I have become something of a Twitter enthusiast since the election campaign began; subscribing to reputable news sources is allowing me to keep up with breaking news and announcements.

Otherwise, as a social tool, at my age I would term the majority tweets 'twaddle.'

pogge said...

There's a spot in your Twitter settings where you can indicate that you want location information included in your tweets. I would imagine that's how Creepy reports the geographic information. I have no problem with that because the user has to indicate he wants that info included. By default, that box isn't checked.

But if Twitter is making our IP addresses available to third party software vendors, I'll be extremely surprised and upset.

bigcitylib said...


Even if your twitter settings don't allow that, the software goes after any pictures associated with your account (flickr and twitter), downloads them, and checks for geo information. Your cell phone apparently assigns long/lat coordinates when you snap a pic with it.

pogge said...

Ah. Cell phones. If you're concerned about protecting your privacy, you should be looking a lot more closely at your cell phone than at Twitter. Personally, I don't own one.

Mark Richard Francis said...

You've had girlfriends?

bigcitylib said...

Is that so hard to believe?