I recently tried an experiment. I decided to see what would happen if I protected my Tweets. I’ve never been a fan of protected Tweets only because I’ve never been a fan of exclusive clubs and online cliques. However, I understand that some feel the need for privacy. So I decided to lock ‘er up and see what would happen if I made the @debng Twitter account only available to select followers.
Keep in mind this isnt usually how I roll with Twitter. While I don’t follow every single person who comes along, I do enjoy having the ability to interact with a diverse group of people. Sort of a more the merrier thing. The folks on Twitter have shown me many kindnesses over the years. I’m afraid I’d miss out on getting to know some interesting people if I locked down.
But heck, an experiment is an experiment.
Here’s what happened:
- Emails from followers requesting I don’t shut them out: The day I announced I was going to lock up my Tweets I received about 20 or 30 emails requesting I don’t do so. The people I enjoyed sharing with? They enjoy sharing with me as well and didn’t want to lose that. Folks wanted to be sure I was following them so they wouldn’t get excluded.
- No retweets: Locked Tweets mean fewer retweets. I didn’t really think of this when I began my experiment but anyone who enjoys watching a Tweet go viral would miss out on this little perk if choosing to make Twitter friends and followers an exclusive club.
- No Google love: Locked Tweets aren’t picked up by Google. Though for those wishing to lock their Tweets this is probably a non-issue. If you’re looking to receive traffic to links or get your name out there, this is worth a consideration.
- More privacy: As I follow over 6,00o people, I can’t really say I have privacy but for those with fewer friends and followers there’s the ability to tweet information without having to worry about their tweets getting into the mainstream. There’s also the ability to say what you want without having to worry about arguments or flame wars.
- Outsiders are Outsiders: Have you ever jumped into a Twitter conversation with someone you don’t follow simply because it looked interesting? You can’t do that with a locked Tweet. There’s no responding to friends of friends with uninterested parties.
I was uncomfortable with protected Tweets because it reeks of exclusivity, something I’m not really into. I do see why some folks prefer to go this route, however it’s not for me. Even for a short bit of time it caused me to miss out on some perks including cool sharing and meeting new people.
To me, protected Tweets defeat the purpose of Twitter. I see it as only wishing to converse with the same few people who comment on your blog posts or who you Skype with each day. Maybe those who are protective can correct me if I’m wrong, but it deters community building. I’ve been told by some Tweeters that if they want to follow someone interesting and that person has protected Tweets, they’ll reconsider the follow. They don’t want to jump through hoops.
I belong to some private groups. I have a protected family forum so my brothers, sisters, mom and I can all share images of our kids and talk about our lives without having to worry about the real world coming. Plus there are email groups, Yahoo Groups and other ways to keep in touch privately with a clique. I guess that’s why I don’t get the private Twitter thing. I’ve never been a fan of cliques.
What are your thoughts on the protected Tweet. Do I have it all wrong?