My friend Lisa Sunbury just asked for my take on the “protected tweets” feature on Twitter.
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Since Twitter only allows 140 characters, I thought I would post my response here on the 8pm Warrior blog and Facebook discussion group. I hope my answer helps anyone who is new to Twitter and wondering if they should select the “Protect my tweets” option on the account setup screen.
I have a confession to make. Back at the end of 2008 when I decided to use Twitter for @Biebert and @ClearMedical, I selected the “Protect my tweets” option during setup.
It was a mistake. Here’s why:
1) I missed out on new connections
If you protect your tweets, some people will choose not to follow you. Pure and simple.
2) My message didn’t get out.
I was CEO and thought my updates would somehow help our competition discover the “secret recipe” that was taking their market share.
This was idiotic and cocky.
Not only did it keep our competitors from learning about our operations, early adoption of social media, and what made us special, but it kept out anyone who needed our consulting solutions, agency support, or just wanted to learn about us.
Yes, some of them did choose to follow us and get our updates, but they couldn’t retweet the updates they liked about our story. Consequently, fewer people got involved with the beginning of the Clear Medical Network project and some potential new friends didn’t get invited to our annual healthcare industry cruise and “Nurses Night Out” events.
Protecting your tweets means protecting them from people you need, and there are far more of them than competitors.
3) We weren’t searchable.
Twitter, Google, and Bing can’t search protected Twitter accounts, which means that no matter how great we thought our advice was, it wasn’t going to get out to anyone who didn’t already know about us. This meant we were hard to find, #hastags were useless, and we didn’t have a Klout score.
4) We irritated our friends
No one likes waiting, especially for approval. We live in an “on demand” world and making people wait to follow you and engage with you is not only irritating, but it can hurt sales. Many people use social media to learn more about you and if you make them wait, you lose potential relationships. They may go somewhere else.
Also, since so few people have their accounts protected, it makes others wonder why this person/company/brand thinks they are “God’s gift to the world.”
5) You can’t engage with new people
If you have a protected account, you can’t successfully @mention someone who isn’t following you. Unfortunately, that may be the single most important thing about twitter.
To sum it up, don’t protect your account if you want to engage with new people. If you don’t want to engage with new people, you shouldn’t be on Twitter in the first place.
Want privacy? Stay on Facebook.
That’s my take.
Have a great night,
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