Monday, November 8, 2010

Twitter – what you don’t want your neighbour to know

Many people have fun on Twitter*, some people for business, some people for pleasure, some people because they can.

The reasoning behind Twitter* usage is as varied as the weather in Melbourne, AU.

People are constantly complaining about privacy, about lack of it, about information sharing, be it too little, or too much, both in the real world and online and yet many of these breaches are due to the person posting something directly, not others.

Twitter is a wonderful knowledge base, a good way to find information out, that may be too difficult to locate otherwise. Twitter is a great way to touch base with people of similar interests or even ethics and morals. You adjust your followers accordingly.

This post came about when I was having a conversation with someone on Twitter and I made the comment, I treat Twitter like a www neighbourhood. What I don’t want my neighbours to know, or my parents, or my employees, I don’t utter a word on Twitter*. Because that would be like telling the neighbourhood gossip something that I didn’t want anyone else to know.

Another issue to consider is that Twitter, Twitpic and Yfrog (and other applications) have built into their terms and conditions (same as Facebook) that any photos you post can be used by them, at their whim. So if you have an image that ‘could’ be embarrassing sometime in the future, don’t post it – It’s not worth it.

When posting ANYTHING to the internet, anywhere, not just Twitter*, that information, stays there forever. It doesn’t take a genius to find information that you think you’ve deleted. One person can copy that information and then post it everywhere. You can delete something, but unbeknown to you it has previously been copied.

I like Twitter, I like the speed of it – I like the fact I can pop in and out without missing too much. I like that conversations can go over a period of days, without , missing a beat.

One photo, one mistake, one career, one mistake. Can have life time roll on effect.

Don’t tell Twitter* and you won’t be telling your neighbour, you won’t be telling the world

Enjoy, but don’t share with others, what you wouldn’t share with your neighbour

**Replace the word Twitter with any other social website and the same analogy applies.


  1. Well said. Really well said. I'll be sharing this with people.

  2. I have a similar approach.

    Recently I'm noticing a lot of oversharing - which is nothing but hamfisted self promotion. Social media for business is great, but enough already with the self-aggrandizing, I say. I am reminded of the old saying "empty vessels make the loudest noise". I suspect that is the case on social media too.

  3. Hi Lindy,

    You're so right to equate Twitter with the neighbourhood gossip. I think it's a bit more than that - it's more like the town gossip and the town crier rolled into one. It's much bigger than the town, too.

    I cringe when I see university party pictures posted on Facebook and thank my lucky stars it wasn't around when I was young. I can't help but think drunken photos are going to come back and haunt them later in life.


  4. The whole of Twitter is risky.
    Comments are out there and can be taken and used any time by anyone else - the media swarm for comments. Everyone needs to be aware of it.

    There's also no guarantees with Twitter. You follow someone you get all their thoughts and opinions. It's not uncommon to find something offensive from someone you never expected it from. To find something you find intolerable. To be abused for your thoughts.

    There's no guarantee your followers will follow you back. No guaratantee that your followers will pay attention to your tweets. Will retweet the stuff you want retweeted. Will answer your questions. Will want to be friends with you. Will even acknowledge you.

    Twitter is the one place that - excluding those that lock their account - you put stuff out there and you have no idea what will happen and what response you can get.

    I've seen people whining about it. They don't understand the way Twitter works. They should go to Facebook where there's a little more privacy controls.

  5. So much of Twitter is basically talking back at the tv, and too many people don't realise that what might be acceptable to say to your mates down the pub is not acceptable in a public forum.
    I call it Twourette's syndrome.

  6. Twourette's syndrome - agreed - I always censor what I say - sometimes harshly - sometimes not so harshly - but always

    I see some on the tweets/photo and I cringe :(

    makes me angry to see 20yo that may wish something wasn't said in 10 or even 2yrs time :(

    Thanks for the comments Bill - appreciated