I had a strange dream last night.
I was on Twitter when news broke on TMZ.com that Oprah Winfrey had died. I read the article, shared the link, and then went out.
This was all in the dream, remember. As it continued, I came back home after a couple of hours had passed and it turned out that TMZ had pulled the story, that it was a mistake, and Oprah was very much alive. However, my “Oprah Winfrey has died!” tweet was still sitting there in all its glory, and had started to generate thousands of really negative reactions. People were calling me a liar, saying I’d obviously put this out just to get attention, and so on.
As it continued, one guy – who was clearly a huge fan of Oprah (Stedman, perhaps) – got so pissed that he hacked into my Twitter account and hooked me up with all the worst auto-tweeting applications on the planet. Suddenly, ‘I’ was sending out all manner of garbage and some really offensive spew – tweets linking to porn, racist gibberish, etc. It wasn’t looking good.
Still dreaming, and as the complaints went from thousands to millions, I became increasingly frustrated at my inability to deal with the problem. The thing was, I knew what I had to do – it was as easy as visiting the connections tab on my Twitter account and revoking access to all the auto-tweeting crap that had been injected into my account.
But, much like those nightmares where you’re trying to run away from the monster but your legs are stuck or simply refuse to work, in the dream I somehow just couldn’t quite get there, and could only watch in horror as my good Twitter name was torn to shreds.
Suffice to say, I woke in something of a fluster.
Silly as it was, the dream had some purpose. This morning, I checked my connections tab for the first time in a while, and sure enough there were a couple of things in there that I didn’t recognise and immediately revoked. Thankfully, they hadn’t started sending out any auto-nonsense to my timeline, but that doesn’t mean that they never would have.
You see, the problem with giving permission on Twitter is it’s forever – unless you do something about it. There are no layers of permission, certainly from Twitter’s end. You’re either in, or you’re out. Sure, some of these apps let you configure your preferences at their end, but it’s easy to overlook this and it’s really easy to grant permission one day and totally forget all about it the next.
(Especially late at night after one or two raspberry daiquiris – but I digress.)
I’ve written about this before, but I needed reminding myself. It pays to check your connections on a regular basis – once a week is a good habit to get into. Certainly, if you find yourself auto-tweeting – which is never a good thing – check your connections first. Ninety-nine times out of a hundred the problem, and solution, will be in there.
As for Oprah – and just in case this article gets misinterpreted and becomes self-fulfilling and wholly ironic – she is, I would like to remind you, still with us.
(Although she hasn’t updated in a while.)