This is kind of an open poll. Increasingly I’m seeing people in my Twitter network protecting their status updates. When you protect your updates on Twitter, only people whom you authorise can read your tweets. They don’t show in Twitter search, and nobody who isn’t following (and authorised by) you can see your replies.
If your profile was previously open and you now decide to protect it, everything you now publish to Twitter goes private, and Google will stop indexing your updates (although your old tweets will remain on both). If you unprotect, while your new tweets will again be visible to all, everything you wrote while protected stays hidden.
Lots of people have a ‘real-life‘ history. Maybe you’ve had problems with somebody on Twitter, or people in other social networks or bulletin boards. Maybe there’s somebody offline who you don’t want to be able to access your Twitter stream, like a boss, ex-partner or good old-fashioned weirdo. All of these are legitimate reasons to make your account private.
At least, theoretically. You see, when you protect your updates on Twitter, you’re going to limit your experience on the network. You’re making yourself less a part of the community. This is an inevitability. People can’t read your timeline, so they can’t get an idea of who you are or what you tweet about, so they’re less likely to want to follow you. For me personally, if somebody follows me and I visit their profile and it says it’s protected, I rarely click on the follow button. And if I happen to stumble across a protected profile, I never click on the follow button. Why would I? I have no idea what to expect. There could be any manner of lunatic hiding under there.
I’ll go into more detail about the implications of choosing a private account on Twitter in a follow-up post, but I want to hear from you guys, first.
Those of you who protect your accounts, please share your reasons with us below. You don’t have to be too specific – I certainly don’t want you in any way to ‘out’ yourself – so just a general reason will do. But please be as honest as possible.
I’d also like to hear from anybody who previously experimented with a protected account but decided it wasn’t for them for whatever reason(s).
And if you’re considering protecting your account, but are currently public, feel free to share your thoughts, too. As said, I’ll put everything together for a follow-up post, and we can have a closer look at the pros and cons of a protected Twitter profile.