A lot of smart stuff has been written about netiquette and behavior in social networks, blogs etc. But when all is said and done, it boils down to this:
Recently I proposed to add a little Twitter feature, namely an indicator for why you protect your Twitter feed. (Why is this important? To prevent social awkwardness.) Tapio picked up on this issue and asked (among others) me:
You folks out there must have come across that situation: a new follower request comes in, you donâ€™t know the person, what do you do? Simply deny? Feels impolite, doesnâ€™t it? So hereâ€™s a meme: Why do you protect your Tweets (or not)?
Well, I’d love not to have my Twitter RSS feed indexed: So my 140 character ramblings wouldn’t be archived by The Google & co. On the other hand, all the cool mashups and extra services like FriendFeed wouldn’t work with Twitter, either. But so far, I figured the following: I’ll keep my Twitter feed public: That way, feed aggregators work, and it’s easier for new and old Twitterers to follow my tweets, i.e. to get in touch. To prevent awkward moments in the future, I’ll simply not write what I can’t stand by; and not post anything while annoyed. Both of which I guess are kind of good guidelines for any kind of communication anyway.
One thing that’d be really useful for Twitter: If you could signal somehow why your Twitter updates are protected. Some folks do it because they prefer to communicate within their circle of friends. Others do it so they can monitor who subscribes to their tweets – which is the only way of making sure that your tweets’ RSS feed doesn’t get syndicated all over the web. If there was a way to say what your motivation is to keep your tweets protected it might spare a many a moment of social awkwardness, non?