06 January 2009

The locked effect

Over at Tame the Web there's a rather interesting blog post that I think will provoke a lot of discussion over aspects of social networking, this particular post looks at Twitter. A bit of background,Twitter, like many services, allows you the option of keeping your profile locked. This means that only those that you allow can follow you. This has both good and bad points like any service, but everyone chooses what works for them.

The post over on Tame the Web is simply an image from Flickr, the picture of a lock that you see on when someone has a locked profile on Twitter, and the description that was underneath the image. It's the words under the image that bother me:

"That is when I may consider following someone with protected updates.

Watchya hiding?

I don’t wanna know,

I ain’t interested.


To me it implies that there is something wrong with people having locked profiles. That because, people have choosen to not share part of their life with everyone in the world, that they are in effect, creating a proglem. The responses by Lee and Kyle, while offering good opinions, seem to want to place everyone in the same boat. If x doesn't work then clearly y is the alternative and thus everyone is happy, (Y in this case being have two separte accounts.) But it doesn't always work that way. Y isn't always the option, sometimes its z or zx or zy or so on. Everyone has different experiences that lead them to participate in Twitter and how they choose to set up their account and who they allow to follow them. There is no right or wrong answer to how you set up your profile, or how you participate in the conversation as long as you enjoy how you are participating.

But, there is a problem with trying to put everyone in the same boat and saying if you have a locked account, you aren't participating in the discussion. Everyone has different experiences that lead to how they make decisions. You may not always agree with them, but should at least seek to understand where they are coming from and in the case of locked social networking profiles, respect them for their decision.


waltc said...

Good commentary--sort of like those who say that blogs that don't allow comments aren't really blogs.

Respect people for their decisions and allow for individual differences? What a concept!

Polly Potter said...

Andrew, your post makes a good point of encouraging us to make the effort to consider the person, rather than the notion of how others ought to conform to OUR rules. Well done.

Anonymous said...

Andrew, as a person who "protects" her tweets, I appreciate your post. There are a lot of variables people consider when using social networking tools...esp. when factoring in how they want to use the tool(s).