People have often asked me why is your twitter stream is set to private. Why don’t you just open it up to the rest of the world like everyone else does. Don’t you get this social networking thing. Why are you just trying to keep things private, when if you have a footprint on the web it’s just a little pointless.
Well yes there are lots if good reasons to open up a twitter stream to the public, here are a few:
- It’s really easy for people to decide to connect with you if they can read your previous tweets.
- It can be handy for the odd self promotion and the digital footprint if people can connect with you easily.
- You can build a better community around you of like minded people if you are easy to connect to.
- You can have more conversations with a greater community.
- You can integrate your twitter stream with all sorts of cool tools using the twitter API with ease.
It’s Not that I Don’t Like You
Okay that’s good, yes you can engage with people easier if you have a public twitter stream. But there is also a good number of reasons for not having a public twitter stream such as:
- Google – This is the primary reason that my stream is private, I don’t want any Google bots spidering and indexing my tweets. I don’t what any of my tweets being used out of context or being lodged in the grand Google repository of knowledge for evermore. Of course this would be solved if Twitter had a no index option for each account.
- SpamBots – Whether they are real people or bots, you get other twitter accounts following you just so they can direct message spam you. With an open stream you get this a lot more than a closed on. Easiest thing to do is restrict their access.
- Auto Follow Bots – It’s amazing, If I tweet about coffee, suddenly ten coffee bots start to follow me, this auto following trend on an open stream is a real pain. These are not real people, just some programing script.. Sure the twitter crew cull them from time to time, but really I just don’t want some random non person following me.
- Auto Publish Bots – Just like Auto Follow bots there are now auto publish bots that detect various keywords in the public stream and retweet your tweet they have detected or even quote the tweet in a blog style entry somewhere. Now that means we can all be constantly taken out of context even more. Now this doesn’t happen with a private account.
- The Creeps – Now I don’t get this much, but I know a lot of my female friends on twitter get some weird creeps following them, some just outright digitally stalking them. These people are often just end up being blocked. With a private stream you restrict who follows you.
- Social Media Experts – These are another breed of experts people that have suddenly appeared on Twitter. Seems they are out to teach me how to use online social networks, with their all of five minutes experience. I really think these people need to reconsider their approach to social media. Maybe folks like me that have been around for a while do get it. It’s just we don’t be blowing our trumpet all over the relevant social networking sites about it. Best way to avoid these people is control their connection into you community, like the creeps above.
- My Community – I know it’s all about community, but the social network is centered around me, it’s my social network. It would be nice if I had control who can easily listen in on my network. Who is in that community. I want to ensure that they are relevant to me. I want to know the people in my conversation, I want to select the people around me. Seems a little anal or self centered, is it really. Consider all the other social networking sites, you get to select who you can connect with, so why should Twitter be any different. Think about it, your social network isn’t for your neighbour or the kid down the road it is for you. So you should have a say in it.
It’s Private, but Just Ask.
Sure my twitter stream is set to private. Yes its not that private, as my followers can access my tweets so my privacy is only as good as my community. But my followers aren’t the nasties listed above. They are the reason I’m on twitter for the community.
So if you think you belong in my community and we have a common interest, go on request to follow me. I don’t bite.