More Twitter angst

A month ago I posted about making my Twitters private, along with the social angst involved. I’ve now changed my mind and gone public again.

There were a few benefits to being private:

  • Fewer spammers wanting to be my “friend”. I think. There were still a few.

  • I could perhaps be slightly more candid than if I didn’t know who was listening (but I still figured things were pretty public though).

But there were also downsides:

  • I no longer seemed to get emails when someone wanted to be my friend. Instead there was a list of people who I had to individually Accept or Deny, a sometimes laborious process. A few spammers, a few strangers who have nothing better to do than accumulate thousands of “friends”, and a few people I knew.

  • With each of the people I knew, the previous social angst recurred. Most were people I’ve met a few times, and who seemed jolly nice, but whose lives I didn’t feel the need to receive regular updates about. Because of Twitter’s one-way relationships this meant I had to Deny them. Which always felt very rude.

  • If one’s tweets are private then they won’t show up in any of the third-party websites that search or otherwise play with public tweets. Which is a shame, as I like the Internet being a big open place, and it felt odd to keep things private when I wasn’t saying anything particularly private.

  • There were occasions I asked a question that I wished more people were following me — all those friends I had to dump when I went private.

On balance, being public seemed the lesser of two evils.

One thing that would make being public easier is the ability to see one’s Followers and Following in better sorted lists than they currently are. Dopplr’s new lists of connections are a great example, as the different kinds of connections are separated into groups, rather than a single, apparently random, list of people.

Phew. I don’t remember deciding who to talk to in the pub ever being this much trouble.

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Monday 19 May 2008, 5:50pm

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19 May 2008 at Twitter

  • 4:28pm: Finally got shot of @schulze. It's been like babysitting a gangly teething toddler.
  • 3:18pm: @schulze is looking up the definitions of colours in Wikipedia. It's really helpful.
  • 1:05pm: Full of pork burrito. Also bumped into 3xDopplr and 1xMoo without the aid of social software. It's like being in SF or something.
  • 11:18am: I will now be hitting Apple-S as if I'm playing 'Daley Thompson's Decathlon', in fear of Photoshop disappearing. Again.
  • 7:28am: Stuffing face with museli and pear before the arrival of @schulze. Pool was full of slowcoaches who wouldn't give way this morning.