An interesting Twitter dilemma (or Twitter XXX)

I’ve been using Twitter for almost a year now.  At first I only really used it for communicating with friends, but eventually I started following famous people (like @neilhimself), and friends of friends, and so on.  I no longer actually know the majority of people following me. Some are genuine Twitter-friends, but not most.  Some follow me because they are spammers (or ‘social media experts’), some are business and academic contacts, and some for reasons I have been unable to figure out .  This hadn’t really been too much of a problem for me, I just had to keep a closer watch on what I tweeted.

Recently something new happened that’s given me pause.  I was followed by a porn star (well, three actually).  I have no idea how that happened.  If a lot of people start following you out of the blue, you can usually look back at recent tweets and figure out what phrase they were all searching for (protip: do NOT tweet about ‘internet marketing’).  That didn’t seem to be the case here (at least I didn’t see any obvious phrases porn stars might be searching for).  I checked them out.  Two of them seemed to be just using Twitter for marketing (‘vote my boobs the best’, ‘look at my site’, ‘love cocks’, etc.).  The third one was different.  She seemed to actually be using Twitter for communication, not just marketing.  I was intrigued, and almost followed back, but an errant thought stayed my hand.  People other than my friends (who, like me, don’t think there is anything inherently wrong with porn/pornstars) will be looking at my Twitter page.  What would it look like to someone thinking about hiring me, or giving me a scholarship, or any other case where someone might be looking at me on Twitter to help them make a judgement about me.  So I didn’t follow, and now, a week or so later, all three have unfollowed me (not sure what happened there).  I don’t really know how I should feel about it.  A part of me feels like I copped out, like I should have said ‘to hell with what they think!’  What do you think?  Did I lame out?  What would you have done?


2 Responses to “An interesting Twitter dilemma (or Twitter XXX)”

  1. 1 Matt Baker June 9, 2009 at 11:35 PM

    I went through a similar thought process a few months ago, obviously I opted to make my Twitter feed friends-only.

    I think your post gets at the larger problem of online identity. People are getting savvy to the fact that we’re all becoming google-able and the internet seems to be in the “chaos” stage where no one really knows what to do.

    Of course, you take all these closed networks of twitter friends and Facebook profiles and you get something that looks surprisingly similar to a dark net…

  2. 2 Gilad Shanan June 10, 2009 at 11:01 PM

    As you know, I just joined the Tweeting world, but I like getting to approve requests to follow my feed. That way I can check out each requester to see if they seem genuinely interested in following, and not just “market researching,” me. My first day I got two requests from people I didn’t recognize. Both accounts turned up “terminated for strange behavior.”

    Then again, I’m not that interested in tweeting with porn stars. But whatever floats your boat I guess, as long as @clocksailor doesn’t find out about it…

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