I get it. I really do.
There’s a desire to have conversations, interactions, silly back-and-forths with a specific and “controlled” community — your friends. It’s nice to feel some sense of control about who sees or does not see your content. You don’t have to filter or self-censor.
In class last week, I made an off-handed remark that I wouldn’t hire someone who had a protected twitter account. When I said it, I heard an audible gasp in the room. What?! Why would she say that?
So here’s why:
When I hire, I need people who are smart and savvy about social media. For most entry-level professionals, the greatest indicator is how the individual uses their personal account. If your account is protected, I can’t see how you interact with people and what kinds of things you share (obviously). But what it also says is, “I don’t get how to use this tool as a professional. I’m just a student and the world revolves around me.” That’s fine. And your prerogative. But I won’t hire you.
I know not everyone wants to manage social media and spend their days on Twitter. The entry-level professionals I work with do, so that’s important to me and to my clients.
However, there are plenty of other reasons you might want to reconsider protecting your tweets:
- You’ll miss connections – plenty of people (including me) won’t follow people back with protected accounts.
- People won’t see things you might actually want them to see. Doesn’t do much good to share that portfolio piece or get job search advice if you’re not casting a wider net.
- Your tweets aren’t searchable (and by the same measure, you can’t participate in tweet chats… just because you use the hashtag for a class, or a chat or a conference doesn’t mean everyone else can see your stuff. Only those people who are already following you can).
- You can’t connect with new people and build your personal or professional network.
- It’s not REALLY all that private – Screenshots, retweets and favorites make it really easy for others to share your stuff even if you don’t want them to.
Don’t take my word for it:
- Shonali Burke‘s advice on why protecting your twitter account is a bad idea.
- Social Media University has 10 reasons to not protect your account.
- Media Bistro has some general advice for Twitter newbies including why you shouldn’t protect your tweets.
- City Gopher has three more compelling reasons.
What do you think? Do you protect your tweets? If so, why? If not, why not?