Twitter: watch your mouth

Whether Twitter will turn out to be a conversational revolution or a giant waste of time, I’m still not sure about. Sometimes it feels like instant messaging (chatting *with* someone), sometimes like just changing the subtitle of your MSN/Gtalk (just a shout, no specific destination), sometimes it’s more like talking to yourself. But make no mistake: you are not just talking to yourself!

Thanks to its huge geek-appeal (over 145.000 backlinks in Technorati), Twitter is well on its way towards a respectable PageRank 8. Twitter also uses pretty URLs, ([user]/statuses/[messageid] ), which Google likes a lot. Twitter also generously links from one account to the other (Twitter Friends). And Twitter has a LOT of (small bites of) content. As a result of that, whatever you say in Twitter may come back to haunt you through Google.

Exhibit 1: Pietel
Twitter exhibit 1: Pietel
When you do a Google search for “Pietel”, his Twitter account shows up as result #4 of 226.000. Being the good boy that he is, he just wrote that he finished his work assignment at home. But if his last remark would have been: “stupid job, silly colleagues, moron boss“, would he like that to show up on Google?
(depending on what Google server you fall, your results might be different, but the Twitter result has a good chance of ending up on the first page of results).

Exhibit 2: Clopin
Twitter exhibit 2: Clopin
Even worse here: the Twitter account of Clopin shows up as site #2 for a search on his alias. And it includes one of his last remarks on Roos Van Acker’s early oral exercises with a carrot. Which, if he would end up working for SBS/VT4 at some point, or if his boss turns out to be Roos’ jealous boyfriend without a sense of humour, might get him into trouble.

So I’m just saying: Twitter projects a false impression of a conversation amongst friends, and you might be tempted to say stuff a bit more harsh than you mean it. Which is why I use the “private” setting now on my Twitter account:
Twitter: "private" setting

12 thoughts on “Twitter: watch your mouth”

  1. Good point. But if you make your twitter messages private (restricted to your friends), then the mapping mashups like GeoTwitter or Atlas will not know your location.

  2. “Which is why I use the “private” setting now on my Twitter account”
    That’s to bad. There are a lot of twitter applications and mash-ups that are really great, but they require a public profile.
    I think privacy is overrated. I KNOW that when I post something on a forum, a website, twitter or whatever, it’s public and there for everyone to read. Some things you just don’t tweet.
    And about the boss thing: If I were to hire someone who has a twitter account, I would request to follow him/her and scan to his/her tweets anyway. I don’t think you will protect your updates from you boss so it does not makes sense. Just my opinion (but then again, I’m a huge twitter fan).

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