Why Twitter with protection?

I have been slow to warm up to Twitter. I created an account last June before ALA. I thought I might use it while in DC, but ended up not messing around with it. I think my slow adoption of Twitter is linked to how I use my cell phone.  I don't use my cell to txt and while I do covet my neighbor's smartphone…I am probably still a year off from buying something fancier than my Sprint Sanyo VI-2300 (nope it doesn't even have a built in camera). Horrors! My usage has increased over the past couple of months since I installed TwitterFox.  I've also added the Twitter application to my profile in Facebook, but I don't use it to update my Facebook status.

The thing I am still trying to figure out is why some librarian bloggers using Twitter protect their tweets. They have no problems writing blog posts, so what is the hesitation with sharing microblog posts?  I agree that it is more than wise to be professional in all public venues. In fact, David Lee King posted today about a SXSWi presentation on "social networking and your brand". One of the points made during the presentation is that tweets can be taken out of context very easily. However, I cannot really imagine the librarians protecting their updates are swearing up a storm or planning to overthrow the good folks at 50 E. Huron Street.

Cindi Trainor's post last week, "The Tweet heard round the world," is what caused me to start looking at how other librarians are using Twitter. I was a bit surprised to see who has chosen to protect their updates. I'm still curious to know why people made this choice. Please leave a comment if you have any thoughts on why or if you have enabled protection of your Twitter updates and feel comfortable sharing.

Feel free to start following me. I don't have any plans to protect my feed, but I also don't plan on sharing family secrets.

6 thoughts on “Why Twitter with protection?”

  1. Interesting post.

    I protect my updates for the same reason that I set many photos on flickr to be visible by friends and family only: I know and control who has access. In reality, this is little-to-no protection, and it would be a joke to think of these measures as offering privacy: it’s easy enough to become someone’s follower and then republish someone’s tweets, just as it would be easy to be added as a friend or family on flickr, then scrape their photos. But (perhaps naively) I don’t think that anyone would bother to do that.

    There was an interesting discussion of online privacy levels and openness on Steven Cohen’s LibraryStuff blog about a year ago, if I remember right. You can find just about everything about Steven online, but I’ve tried to keep some things a bit harder to find. I know that everything is out there, and a determined person could find out anything they wanted, but it makes me “feel” better about participating online to take advantage of some of the access controls offered at sites, such as they are.

    I also think this issue resonates differently for women than men. It’s instinctive and hard to articulate, but again it’s a matter of perception. It’s the difference between having a conversation at a party (protected updates) and broadcasting one’s opinions on the radio (unprotected updates).

  2. I locked my Twitter account a while back, simply because Twitter is much more conversational than my blog is. Not everything I twitter about is for public viewing (just like I have a non-library-centric LiveJournal account, with some posts that are locked for friends only), just like not everything I do is for public consumption. Only my friends and contacts can see my IM status, and I wanted my Twitter account to be the same way. My Twitter account isn’t necessarily my “librarian” persona, it’s all of me, some of it personal.

  3. I’ve ‘protected’ my Twitter. I don’t consider it “protection,” so much as I simply like to know who is following me on the web. To me it makes it slightly more community-oriented than voyeuristic. I don’t put any details on Twitter that I’m not comfortable having strangers read, due to the nature of the tool, but I still like to know who’s interested.

  4. Interesting post! I protected my twitter-stream — and went to a nom de twitter — after doing a vanity google and seeing tweets take over the results. If there was an option to exclude search crawling of my twitter-stream, I’d opt for that and otherwise open up my stream.

    Plus, I do like that the added control of seeing who wants to follow me.

    For me, though, it’s not a privacy thing, it’s a control thing.

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