I’ve started to get involved with Twitter based on watching your tweets and am enthused, but anxious about people I don’t know reading about what I’m doing. So I want to protect my Twitter updates. Is that a good idea? How do I do it?
Of the many people I follow on Twitter (I’m DaveTaylor on Twitter, btw) only about five or six protect their updates. Everyone else is “public” with their Twitter messages, fine with the fact that the messages that they send out (we call ’em “tweets”) are visible to all – even people who don’t follow you – show up in the public timeline, and are searchable.
For most people, it’s a matter of thinking about what you do and don’t want to share with others in the Twitterverse (yeah, I know, there are lots of stupid names for things on Twitter!). Some people err on the side of extreme caution and only use Twitter when they’re at trade shows or other professional networking events, while others send out tweets about every microscopic detail of their lives, whether anyone else could possibly care or not. And most people are somewhere in the middle.
Let me show you how to protect your updates so that only people you approve can see what you tweet, then we’ll resume this discussion…
First off, when logged in to Twitter, on the top right you should see something approximately like this:
I’ve circled what you want to click: “Settings”. Do that, scroll down a bit on the default “Accounts” tab and you’ll see this:
If you want to protect your updates, simply check this box, then click on “Save”. Done!
Now, when people go to your Twitter page with the intent of clicking on “Follow” to follow you, they instead see:
They click on “Send request” and you, as the account owner, can choose to accept them, granting them permission to see and search your twitterstream, or reject it, leaving them in the proverbial dust.
Now, should you protect your Twitter account updates? I asked my Twitter friends, and got these pearls of wisdom:
- “Had protected updates when new to twitter. Quickly figured out no reason to do that and it limited my opps. to connect w/others”
- “Not I… If I were to protect something, it’d be my followers list…” (darn cool idea, that!)
- “I did for a while cause my ex was spying on me.”
Now, having listed these few responses, I will say that there are legitimate reasons for people to protect their updates, not the least of which is for greater privacy. If you’re a woman there’s another reason to consider protecting your twitters too: safety. Too many women I know have chilling stories of stalkers and weird cyber-oddballs who obsess over them. You really don’t want people like that knowing what restaurant you’re eating at, what sports teams you’re following, and so on. If you twitter about family matters or about your children that could be another logical reason to consider protecting your updates, to protect their privacy.
The real downside of protected updates on Twitter, though, is that there’s not going to be any of the serendipitous connections that gain you new followers, people who read what you’re writing and decide that you’re pretty interesting and worth reading. Without that, Twitter seems – to me at least – like it could become stagnant and uninteresting.
How about you, dear reader. Do you protect your Twitter updates, and if so, why?