What makes Twitter unique is that unlike some other social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat, which are generally designed to stay connected with those you know face-to-face, Twitter is a place where one goes to connect with others with whom you may have never met, but share an idea, passion, or interest.
People on Twitter, or Tweeps, can find each other using a specific hashtag, or perhaps they are all fans of a celebrity or a product. Followers of that celebrity or product can find one another. You can also be added to a list of others like you, for example, I am included on lists of #EdTech bloggers. You can experience the magic of the global connections and network Twitter provides only if your Tweets are unprotected. Protecting Tweets is just not something you do on Twitter. Even this guy who wrote a piece for PC Magazine on why he protects his Tweets doesn't do so any longer.
Since connecting over ideas, passions, and interests is the primary purpose of Twitter, when someone has an account preventing them from doing so, some red flags go up to those who come across your account.
What People Are Thinking When You Protect Tweets?
- Who did this person have a fight with? Maybe you protected your Tweets because you were in a heated debate with someone you no longer wanted to interact with, so you unfollowed this person and protected your Tweets so they couldn't see them.
- What is this person hiding? Maybe you Tweeted something you're embarrassed about and you want to hide your words from others. Maybe you are involved in something provocative or politically incorrect and you don't want others to know.
- Who is this person stalking? Why would you join a social platform designed to connect and network but block others from connecting with you. When you protect your Tweets, you're on Twitter watching what everyone else is saying but turning your back on individuals who might be interested in your contributions.
- Who is stalking this person? Maybe there's someone who you want to avoid so you protect your Tweets so they can't see you, but why? Just block that person. If you think maybe they can still see your Tweets via a fake account, sure, they can if they want to go through the trouble. They can also ask one of your followers to take a screenshot of your Tweets. If you're really this concerned about that person though, you might instead want to suspend your account and call the authorities.
- Who is this person trying to avoid: Some people are upset when people they don't want to associate with follow them, so they protect their Tweets. Instead of that, consider that maybe you have some words of wisdom that will inspire this unsavory follower. Maybe they are just looking to sell you something? You can always block or ignore them.
- This person (or someone they know) doesn't trust they will Tweet responsibly: Maybe this person has a parent or partner who doesn't trust them not to send an irresponsible Tweet like, "Enjoying my vacation. Will miss my empty house all week long." Or maybe you can't trust yourself not to make a derogatory remark. If you are a respectful person who is sharing interesting ideas and resources, you wouldn't have anything to fear.
- This person must be a newbie: If you're not a fighter or a hider, you must be a newbie because only newbies would prevent themselves from experiencing the power of Twitter.
- This person is out of touch: You started your account several years ago. Didn't know what you were doing, so you protected your Tweets, then claimed Twitter was useless because no one was connecting with you like they were with everyone else. You rarely use your account. You don't see the point. But that's no surprise when you protect your Tweets. You've stopped everyone from getting to know your ideas.
What do you think when you come across protected Tweets? Is there anything I haven't included? Do you or someone you know protect your Tweets for a different reason than those listed above? Please share in the comments.
Lisa Nielsen writes for and speaks to audiences across the globe about learning innovatively and is frequently covered by local and national media for her views on “Passion (not data) Driven Learning,” "Thinking Outside the Ban" to harness the power of technology for learning, and using the power of social media to provide a voice to educators and students. Ms. Nielsen has worked for more than a decade in various capacities to support learning in real and innovative ways that will prepare students for success. In addition to her award-winning blog, The Innovative Educator, Ms. Nielsen’s writing is featured in places such as Huffington Post, Tech & Learning, ISTE Connects, ASCD Wholechild, MindShift, Leading & Learning, The Unplugged Mom, and is the author the book Teaching Generation Text.
Disclaimer: The information shared here is strictly that of the author and does not reflect the opinions or endorsement of her employer.