My use of Twitter is changing

June 26th, 2010 by Alistair MacDonald Leave a reply »

I have been a user of Twitter for way over 3 years and it has changed many ways in that time. What started out for me as something I did not really understand, then became a friendly tool for knowing what friends around the world were up to, to a tool for meeting new and interesting friends with similar interests, to today where we are to day.

In the past I have applied my “pub rule” to my use of most social networking, including Twitter. I will allow someone to become “friends” / follow me if I would go for a drink down the pub with them in real life and feel I can speak freely. Following the same logic I will only post things that are visible to my friends / followers that I would say down the pub (before drinking and everyone is my best mate :-) ). I don’t just post anything mind, and consider that anything I post or say is not really secret, but it did allow me to be a little more open about my opinions and revile my current and future locations.

On the whole this has been successful but sadly there has been an incident in recent months when someone used the Newcastle City Counsel Twitter account to read my tweets, and then attempt to respond to them in a less than professional way on my personal blog. This has shaken me a little and the reason why I have been sharing less and why the official NCC twitter account has been unused recently.

After this incident I have decided to share less, and because of that I don’t see any reason to keep my tweets secure so only people I trust can follow them. So, as of some time next week I will be opening up my Twitter stream so anyone can see what I post. The down side of this is that I will be a little less open in what I post.

As a side issue I have also had the problem of Twitter overload with so much information coming in I can not keep up. To cope with this I have also decided to “unfollow” a lot of accounts in order to filter it down a little. Please don’t take it personally if I do. More often than not I will have done it because you have said to much I am just not interested in and if you are not a business you should probably NOT change anything. If you are a business and I am your target audience then perhaps you should change, so please get in touch and I will help where I can.

Finally because of the way Twitter works you will not be able to “DM” me if I do not follow you, or even “at” me if your updates are protected. In order to give everyone a way to contact me via Twitter I have set up @contactalistair that, if you follow, will follow you back so we can communicate through it.

i love Quidco GreenWhite


  1. coldclimate says:

    Be warned, when you uncloak your account your whole history becomes public, not just those tweats posted after decloaking. Caught me out.

  2. alistair says:

    Thanks for the warning. Past tweets are something I have considered, but I have not tweeted anything that I don’t consider as already being out there. Yes there are many things that I would not have said if I was saying them “publicly” but now it is past history it really does not matter.

  3. Pete Hindle says:

    I think the issue you are grappling with is one of how to fit Twitter into your current spectrum of friends, attention span, and privacy. I’ve had some thoughts about this recently, as have some other people I was following, and decided to take a break from using the network altogether. This is probably only temporary, but I figured if we didn’t have Twitter for the previous 5000 years of human civilisation, I’d be fine not using it for a few months.

  4. alistair says:

    The question of how Twitter fits in to my life at the minute is a question I have asked myself. It has evolved, not so much as a product, but as a culture, and that culture is less of interest to me that it was a while ago. That being said it is still of interest to me so I am not going to walk away just yet. I will say that I am surprised that it is being used so much after over three years. I kind of filled a communication hole that we never knew he had.

  5. Pete Hindle says:

    That’s an interesting idea to call it a culture; if anything, the culture on Twitter has become more interesting to me as it moved away from it’s original user-base of ubernerds.

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