December 3, 2012

Two Twitter Things: One, Twitter May Be Following You Around the Internet; and Two, A Reason People May Seem to Be Ignoring You on Twitter

Oh, coffee with egg nog and whipped cream. Why have we stayed apart so long??

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I learned two things about Twitter recently.

The first thing I learned accidentally, while looking for something else in my account settings (in Twitter, click the little gear symbol at upper right, then choose Settings in that pull-down menu): I learned that there was a box checked (which I hadn't checked) saying that Twitter would "Tailor Twitter based on my recent website visits." That is, Twitter would track my internet usage, in order to "customize" Twitter to that usage. They'd "protect my privacy," of course, while following me around the internet and recording that information in order to use it. Oh! I see! No, thank you! UNCHECK BOX!

The second thing is what I was actually looking for when I stumbled upon the first thing. It had gradually started occurring to me that I was not seeing tweets from protected accounts I didn't follow, EVEN WHEN THAT PERSON HAD @-REPLIED ME. That is, I knew I wouldn't see protected tweets if I wasn't following that person, but I HAD thought that if a person with a protected account deliberately contacted me by using my Twitter name, I WOULD see THAT tweet.

BUT NO. I wonder how many people know this, because I didn't. I wonder how many people have talked to someone on Twitter and then felt ignored when they didn't get an answer, not realizing that the other person couldn't see their tweets? Because it's REASONABLE to think they WOULD see the tweet! And Twitter doesn't, like, reject the tweet, or warn the user at the tweeting moment that the person they've @-replied doesn't follow them so won't see the tweet!

Here's a screenshot from Twitter:



It's that last bullet point. If you have a protected account, and if you directly talk to someone on Twitter, and that person doesn't follow you, THEY CAN'T SEE YOUR TWEET.

This explains why I have felt so confused, looking at Twitter conversations that seem to actively include me and yet I can't see half of the tweets. Sometimes I'll see someone else answering someone who seems to have asked me a question---but I can't see the protected account, so I don't know what the question was.

DID YOU KNOW ABOUT ALL THIS?? Because I did not.

23 comments:

d e v a n said...

My account is protected and I knew this, but it annoys me. If you go to the interactions tab though, you will see those tweets. If you remember to go there... which I rarely do.

Swistle said...

d e v a n- That is what I thought, too---because I DO check the interactions tab. But someone with a protected account emailed me, saying she didn't think I'd seen her tweet---and her tweet wasn't in interactions. I think it maybe USED to be that @-replies showed up in interactions? And that now they don't? Because the Twitter thing says specifically that people who don't follow the protected account can't see @-replies.

d e v a n said...

Oh no, well that is even MORE annoying! I know those tweets used to be there, but I hadn't seen any in awhile. I thought I just didn't have any, but now I wonder how many I missed!

Swistle said...

d e v a n- We should test it, maybe! ...Eh, that sounds like work.

Nowheymama said...

I did not know either of these things! They both explain a lot!

Suzanne said...

Yes, as if being stalked around the internet by those curtains I briefly looked at on JCPenny's site isn't bad enough I would ALSO like TWITTER to tell me more about them.

NO THANK YOU. Box unchecked. Thanks for the heads up, Swistle!

Mrs. Irritation said...

I did not know either of these either. I do know I wish there was a "hide" option (like on FB) to hide tweets from someone rather than just having to unfollow.

Swistle said...

Mrs. Irritation- YES, me TOO! For awhile I tried another platform that did let me do that, but it didn't work out: I loved that one feature, but not anything else!

shin ae said...

ACK. I just unchecked that box. I had no idea it was there! I suppose that I have had my own ghosts following me around the Internet for quite some time, but it seems even more obvious and creepy now than it did several years ago. Anyway, thanks for the PSA.

I didn't find out that protecting my tweets included specific @-replies until after I had unprotected my tweets. I felt silly for not knowing before, but it did help me feel better knowing that people weren't ignoring me.

mjb said...

My box was not checked - it says that's a feature not available for all users yet. But it sometimes feels like Twitter is being really quiet.

twisterfish said...

Yes, this has been bothering me about twitter for months and is the main reason I don't use it much. Wish there was a fix other than making everything public.

Stephanie said...

Oh, THANK YOU for this. I, too, did not know they were following me around. Now if there could be some way to block all promoted tweets because I'm really getting annoyed by those. I would say maybe unchecking that box would cut down on them, but they honestly don't seem to be targeted very much to me or what I have been browsing.

Thanks!

Liz said...

I did not know any of this about Twitter, although I only use Twitter minimally so I don't suppose it affects me all that much. Still, it is interesting how many of these hidden little things there are in social media sites.

Nicole said...

I JUST WENT INTO MY TWITTER SETTINGS AND THAT BOX WAS CHECKED FOR ME TOO! WTF TWITTER? YES I AM YELLING!

Seriously, like I didn't have enough of that on Facebook! Thanks for posting this.

Jessica said...

I did know the private account thing, but immediately went to Twitter to change my settings re: following me around. (WTF?)

Alex said...

It is for these kinds of reasons that Twitter just seems like too much work to me. All my Social Media energy is used up on Facebook.

Melanie said...

I protect my account and all this time felt like I was being ignored... wow thanks, thats a real bummer

Gigi said...

I can't remember if mine is a protected account or not - most likely it is knowing me - making a note to check. I didn't know about Twitter following me around either - but then I mainly use Twitter from my phone, so it's not seeing much in that regard. Thanks for the heads up though!

Alice said...

THIS IS INTERESTING. thank you. i have unchecked myself as well. VERY SNEAKY, TWITTER.

Life of a Doctor's Wife said...

Ugh. Thank you for unveiling the Twitter stalking - ick!

After such a discovery, coffee with egg nog and whipped cream sounds like a NECESSITY.

(Seriously - why wasn't I aware until just now that this could be a viable combination? WHY?)

april said...

I knew about the protected account thing. I wish I could unprotected but I'm too free with my personal details so I like to know who can see me. I try to tell mutual followers when I want to say so etching to someone but I wish that everyone I follow would follow me back! Ha! Or that you could DM someone who doesn't follow you to let them know that you'd like to converse.

Ps I would like to reply to you more, if you would follow me :)

Lisa said...

I'm with April. I'm protected (because I have teenagers on Twitter, and, no) and I wish there was a way to not be assholey and ask people to follow me. Like you. . .and @sundry.

(I'm @bindsthetuna if anyone wants to follow me!)

Shoeaddict said...

OMG!!! I once sent you an @- telling you about a sale on something you mentioned before and felt ignored!!

WOW! I had no idea.