With most social networking websites, it is always a bother trying to obtain the username you want.
With most social networking websites, it is always a bother trying to obtain the username you want. After throwing in a few underscores and hyphens, we usually get the result we are looking for. However, in the case of Twitter handles, some may go to extremes to get what they want.
Naoki Hiroshima, the owner of the Twitter username @N, found this out the hard way. The software developer from California had his Twitter handle stolen from him by a hacker. All because it was a rare username, containing only one character.
This shows, in a very extreme fashion, the excessive obsession with social media in our world today. What will shock many is Mr Hiroshima’s revelation that he had previously been offered £50,000 to sell his Twitter handle. In my time I’ve heard of many ridiculously priced items, from a $125-a-slice pizza to £10,000 celebrity-endorsed trainers, but a £50,000 Twitter handle definitely tops the list.
Clearly the social media craze has caused logic to go out the window. It would definitely be an experience to meet the very interesting individual who offered such an amount for a rare Twitter username.
Many people like to ‘splash the cash’ from time to time – all for different reasons. Some do it to impress those around them; others want to project an outward image of success and wealth. But the situation at hand causes us to question the motive for being prepared to spend a life-changing amount of money on a virtual name. Is it for followers? Re-tweets? Answers on a postcard please.
Perhaps one point of justification for this sheer madness is that the person may have been intending to make a profit from a subsequent sale of the Twitter name.
Another question raised by this situation is one of what can be done to protect web users from hackers, who are growing in numbers and strength. This will not be the first time we hear of a hacker infiltrating an online system, or in this case, someone’s Twitter account.
The hacker actually took control of a number of Mr Hiroshima’s online accounts, and threatened to destroy data and websites owned by Mr Hiroshima. He was then forced to give up his Twitter username.
On his website, he wrote: “I remembered what had happened to @mat [Mat Honan’s digital presence was erased in an hour after attacks by hackers] and concluded that giving up the account right away would be the only way to avoid an irreversible disaster.”
It is a sad and a somewhat frustrating situation as Mr Hiroshima’s online presence was literally held at ransom.
The extent to which social media has impacted on the world is nothing short of astonishing. Despite it being used in a positive way, the obsession that caused a hacker to steal a Twitter handle shows that social media can have a negative effect on some. While it is not pleasing to think about, Naoki Hiroshima’s predicament definitely does not bode well for the future of online safety.
Do you think this obsession with having a unique Twitter handle is healthy? Let us know in the comments below.
Photo: trekkyandy / Flickr