If you use Twitter, you’ve probably noticed that by default your profile is set to public. Have you ever wondered about using Twitter privately or even why you should? It’s probably safe to say that the majority of users have their profiles set up to be public, but there are many reasons you might want to make your tweets protected instead.
In this article we’ll explore how to protect your account so that only those you approve can see what you tweet. In addition, we’ll cover how this change will affect your use of Twitter and if you should do it.
How To Make Your Twitter Account Private
The procedure of protecting your Tweets is very simple. Once you’re logged in, click the “gear” icon and choose Settings, the second item from the bottom of the dropdown menu.
By default, you should be on the Account page, but if for some reason you aren’t, that is where you’ll need to be.
Scroll down until you see the section called Tweet privacy and check the checkbox.
An additional step you might want to consider taking is changing whether you can be found upon searching by your email. It’s not necessarily a Twitter security concern, but it’s a good setting to be aware of, if that’s something that matters to you. If you want to change this, you can do so by unchecking the box under Email, near the top of the Account page.
You’ve just protected your tweets, so now only your followers will be able to view them. You will need to scroll down to the bottom of the page and click the button to save your settings. You’ll then be prompted to enter your password. Once you do, the changes will be saved. Now when users who don’t follow you come across your profile, they’ll have to send a request to follow you.
These requests will appear on the Home page, right under the box with your name and the Compose new Tweet field.
Upon clicking it, you’ll then be able to review all the requests and easily accept or decline them.
How Protected Tweets Will Change How You Use Twitter
Changing your tweets from being public to protected will certainly alter how you use Twitter. First and foremost, I feel it’s a natural deterrent, so you may notice a decrease in the amount of people who follow you. When I come upon a user with protected tweets, I’m much less apt to follow them versus if they had their tweets open to the public. By having a protected account, you send the message that you don’t want just anyone seeing what you say. However, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Other things you should understand is that if you mention someone in a tweet who isn’t following you, they won’t be notified. By protecting your tweets, your followers won’t be able to retweet your tweets. Hashtags will also not be very useful since only your followers will be able to see the tweets. Lastly, embedding your tweets in blog posts or sharing them through a permanent link, won’t be possible if they’re protected.
You might have noticed in the picture in this section that the bio, Twitter handle, name and pictures are all sill visible – this is important to take into account. Despite your tweets not being seen, you still represent yourself online, so be aware of that. Also, even though your tweets can only be seen by followers and are unable to be retweeted, don’t forget about screenshots, copy and paste, and third-party services, like Buffer, that allow users to share Tweets regardless of your settings.
The point is, as I’ve said in my articles before, watch what you say and don’t just think that because you’re “protected” that people won’t find out what you say.
Should I Make My Twitter Account Private?
When you ask yourself this question, you must think about what you want to get out of Twitter. If you’re looking to use it as a way to make connections, then protecting your tweets would actually be a disadvantage to you. But if you want to just connect with people you know, then protecting your tweets wouldn’t be a bad idea.
In addition, a somewhat obvious benefit to protecting your tweets is the ability to prevent fake users and spammers from following you. It’s amazing how many fake users really are on Twitter, despite its efforts to reduce the number. Protecting your tweets enables you keep the numbers of followers you have accurate and manage your connections – your real connections.
Other reasons you might want to protect your tweets is if you are primarily trying to use Twitter as a news source to gather information, and aren’t interested in connecting with other users you don’t personally know. That isn’t to say that you wouldn’t ever have followers who you don’t know – you’ll still get requests, they just might be fewer. By protecting your Tweets, they also won’t be indexed in Twitter search or Google search.
Having a private Twitter account is not something that I do personally because it prevents me from using Twitter in the way I prefer. However, we’re all different – we all have different needs, uses, ideas and strategies. If you enjoy a tad bit more privacy and want a tight-knit network of followers, protecting your Tweets will help you achieve that.
Do you protect your Tweets? If so, why? If not, are you more apt to start using Twitter privately now after reading this or will you continue to tweet publicly? Feel free to share your thoughts below, along with any other tips, tricks and uses you have for protected Tweets.
Explore more about: Online Privacy.