Protected Tweets: The Good and the Bad


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?

Comments

  1. I agree – Twitter seems a terrible platform if you want privacy.

    One other thing to mention is that if you allow me to follow your protected tweets, I can still retweet them even if they’re protected. Some tools (like Tweetdeck) says This is a protected Tweet, are you sure?, but it doesn’t stop me.

    Just say no to protected tweets. Take it offline or to a private group if Twitter isn’t appropriate.

  2. Social Tool says:

    I guess it depends though on your social network personality, or overall personality. I chose to go private just because my first twitter account was riddled with spam.

  3. Stumpy says:

    I chose to go private because I didn’t want certain people to follow me. I wanted to be able to decide who could read my tweets and who couldn’t. Not at all in a ‘clique’ or ‘social club’ kind of way, but more because there have been dangerous people in my life (i know, very dramatic, but true). I know this kind of defeats the whole purpose of Twitter, and I have contemplated terminating my account totally, but I enjoy reading it too much.

  4. Stumpy says:

    I chose to go private because I didn’t want certain people to follow me. I wanted to be able to decide who could read my tweets and who couldn’t. Not at all in a ‘clique’ or ‘social club’ kind of way, but more because there have been dangerous people in my life (i know, very dramatic, but true). I know this kind of defeats the whole purpose of Twitter, and I have contemplated terminating my account totally, but I enjoy reading it too much.

  5. Monkeyhater4 says:

    100% agree! Thank you for being real.

  6. Monkeyhater4 says:

    100% agree! Thank you for being real.

  7. twitter tool says:

    Yeah, I had the same expeience. Thought going private would make me look exclusive. Instead it made me lonely…

  8. twitter tool says:

    Yeah, I had the same expeience. Thought going private would make me look exclusive. Instead it made me lonely…

  9. Wow, I really disagree. In real life, we generally take some time to learn about people before getting into discussions of politics and religion, not to mention personal revelations. I’ve had both types of account, and it got too creepy and inhibiting knowing hundreds of people were reading my posts. I’d rather have an idea what someone’s all about before having that person read my thoughts with God only knows what purpose in mind. 
    Do you all really enjoy interacting with spammers, trolls and people who just want to market themselves? 

  10. web hosting says:

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  11. Zed says:

    not to spam you but there’s a plug in for word press that blocks spam on wordpress blogs called akismet.  you should install it.  totally agree with you on the twitter thing though. twitter is all about being a public forum. protected totally defeats the purpose. send someone an email if you want to talk in private.

  12. Zachdyeo says:

    if you direct tweet someone when you have private setting, can they still see it if they dont follow you?

  13. excellent read, I really find it hard to share a website of someone who locks there tweets. You want me to visit your website but not share public discussions? No thank you.

  14. GimliDotNet says:

    I’ve gone protected because the only people who want to follow me are spam bots. 

  15. Asphalt Drum Mix Plant says:

    I really find it hard to share a website of someone who locks there
    tweets. You want me to visit your website but not share public
    discussions? No thank you.

  16. Wet Mix Plant says:

    I chose to go private because I didn’t want certain people to follow me.
    I wanted to be able to decide who could read my tweets and who
    couldn’t.

  17. Concrete Batch Mix Plant says:

    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.

  18. Property Rental Management says:

    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.

  19. Hoa Management says:

    I’ve been told by some Tweeters that if they want to follow someone interesting and that person has protected.

  20. Hoa Management says:

    I’ve been told by some Tweeters that if they want to follow someone interesting and that person has protected.

  21. Property Management Las Vegas says:

    There’s also the ability to say what you want without having to worry about arguments or flame wars.

  22. Asphalt Drum Mix Plant says:

    Twitter is all about being a public forum. protected totally defeats the
    purpose. send someone an email if you want to talk in private.

  23. Wet Mix Plant says:

    I’ve been told by some Tweeters that if they want to follow someone interesting and that person has protected.

  24. Concrete Batch Mix Plant says:

    Some tools (like Tweetdeck) says This is a protected Tweet, are you sure?, but it doesn’t stop me.

  25. Stewie says:

    I don’t see why people even speculate in “the purpose” of Twitter, whether choosing to be protected defeats the purpose or not. And who is the author of this article to judge what to you use it for? Take a train for example. Some people use it for commuting to work, others for going to a party, and others use it to go to a funeral. Is any type of traveller defeating the purpose of the train? Twitter is great to use protected if you of are not a person who want to expose your life to every person in the world. Being a small group, tweeting to each other, and keeping it that way is nice. Why should we stick to another social network? Twitter does the job really well. I am often sickened by people who expose their dreary lives, thinking that the act of doing so is fulfilling their lives. Like in Family Guy where Stewie is making fun of people on MySpace, listing music, movies and other things that other people have created, showing them off to express their individuality. Spot on, Stewie.

  26. Jack says:

    It’s not about being in a clique – I want to share with my friends in a forum we can all access, has flashy apps designed for nearly every capable mobile device in the world, and has the thoughts of many others who I may be interested in following.

    I didn’t join with the aim of having 1,000s of followers and getting some vanity kick from getting my tweets retweeted by strangers on the internet; I joined with the intention of socialising with my already well established group of friends on a commonly used platform.

    Pretty late into the conversation, nearly 3 years later but I goolge’d something and this came up so I thought I’d throw in my thoughts.

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