Words to Avoid in Social Media


We all know about using keywords to help Google find our websites and blogs, right?  Well, it seems that the agency charged with protecting us from terrorists uses keywords, too.  They use them to help them identify potential terrorist threats.

Some of the keywords that their computers and analysts search for on social media netwowks surprised me.  I have family in Tucson — and to visit them, I drive through El Paso.  So I was surprised to see the names of both cities on the watch list along with many other common place names and words.

In response to a Freedom of Information Act Request, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has released a list of several hundred keywords that can trigger an investigation.  The Daily Mail published the entire list here.

How often have you used these common place names, comments on the weather, or ordinary business terms?

I think that I have used every single one of these words in social media over the last few years.  Bet you’ve used more than a few, too.  Of course, DHS says that it’s searching for “context”, and “patterns”, not single words.

Here’s my list of the most surprising words on the DHS watch list — did any others stand out for you?

Agriculture

Airport

Blizzard

Border

Cancelled

Cloud

Communications

Cops

Crash

Dock

Earthquake

El Paso

Exercise

Flood

Flu

Hail

Help

Home grown

Ice

Infection

Law enforcement

Lightening

Malware

Metro

Mexico

Phishing

Pirates

Police

Pork

Port

Power

Rootkit

San Diego

Security

Sick

Sleet

Smart

Snow

Social media

Southwest

Spammer

Storm

Subway

Symptoms

Telecommunications

Tornado

Trojan

Tucson

Twister

U.S. Consulate

Virus

Wave

Yuma

Photo credit:  Janet Napolitano, secretary of the Department of Homeland Security,speaking at a National Guard event.  The National Guard’s press office made this photo available under a Creative Commons license on Flickr.

About debmcalister

I'm a Dallas-based marketing consultant and writer, who specializes in helping start-up technology companies grow. I write (books, articles, and blogs) about marketing, technology, and social media. This blog is about all of those -- and the funny ways in which they interesect with everyday life. It's also the place where I publish general articles on topics that interest me -- including commentary about the acting and film communities, since I have both a son and grandson who are performers.
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