Protect my tweets?

twitter logo“Protect my tweets” is the only option in Tweet Privacy, one of the few Account Settings required to create a Twitter profile. Additional “Account Settings” consist simply of your Name, Username, Email, Language, Time Zone and Tweet Location. Although simple and self explanatory, instructions are included with each criteria.

There should be little confusion in choosing a name or email address but it seems that there are still many who may not understand the premise of Twitter because if they did they would never check the box in Tweet Privacy to “Protect my tweets”. Privacy issues continue to remain top news with Facebook taking the brunt of criticism for some time now to set the precedent. No other social media site is going to establish a site offering online accounts visible to millions without including some form of “privacy options”. The question is whether the options available are based on any rationale regarding the use of the social media site or simply to protect against privacy advocates.

Regardless of the reason behind the privacy option offered by Twitter, the question is, why would any user on Twitter choose to select the “Protect my Tweets” option? Could it simply be an unconscious error? Or maybe a considerate user with the urge to share inappropriate information that could be considered offensive? The 140 characters you choose to tweet could consist of anything including a personal message or a link to an article blog post or website. The people you share your tweets with are your followers and you have the option to follow anyone you are interested in as long as they haven’t protected their tweets in which case you will see “pending” and my reaction to that is to cancel my decision to follow them and I am left with the question, who or what are they protecting their tweets from and why?   

The more people you follow, “Following”, the more feedback you will receive and the more people that follow you, “Followers”, will result in more people receiving your message, known as a “tweet”. Should you find yourself offended by anyone, you have the option to select an “Action” associated with anyone you are following or anyone who is a follower to unfollow, block or report for spam. There is no reason to choose to protect all of your tweets, simply allow everyone who is interested in you to follow your tweets and if you don’t want a particular individual to see what you tweet, block them!

If your audience consists of only a few followers, how much influence will you have? If you are only following a few people how much value are you missing out on from some of the most inspiring, intellectual and thought provoking people in the world? If you don’t “believe” in Twitter right now, you may want to consider what the following companies and individuals may know that you don’t.

“Of the Fortune Global 100 companies, 65% have active Twitter accounts”, data collected between November 2009 and January 2010 among the top 100 companies of Fortune’s Global 500 companies by Burson-Marsteller. There were less than 75 million users on Twitter in November 2009 and today there are over 100 million! If the most successful companies in the world are not impressive enough, how about some of the most successful individuals in the world: @RichardBranson, @BillGates, @Oprah, @BarackObama, and the list goes on and on. Visit www.celebritytweet.com and although you will find @MileyCyrus and @JustinBeiber, you are mistaken if you think it is just for kids. Feel free to follow @JaneFonda, @Joan_Rivers, @AshtonKucher or @KevinSpacey. You will not receive the “pending” message if you choose to follow any of these people becasue none of them have checked the “Protect my Tweets” box.

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