Hashtag humor: Private Twitter accounts are oxymoronic

Lenny Neslin

I am convinced the real reason college students opt for private Twitter accounts is to quench their sarcastic hashtagging addiction. But I have a solution without having to go private.

Reviewing Twitter’s “About” page would do wonders for private account users.

Lenny Neslin

“Twitter is the best way to discover what’s new in your world,” the top heading reads on twitter.com/about. Well, it’s kind of hard for other people to discover what’s new in your world when they can’t read your tweets without prior approval. Why should someone follow you on Twitter if he or she has no idea what kind of information you share? #ThinkAboutIt

I don’t follow people on Twitter; I follow what people say on Twitter.

I do the former on Facebook. The friends I’ve made and people I’ve met are in my Facebook network (if not, friend me because I sadly have forgotten about you). I follow some of my friends on Twitter because I care about the topics they tweet about – sports, technology and journalism. I follow some of my other friends who tweet worthless information purely for research purposes so I can write an article like this. #NobodyCaresWhatYouHadForBreakfast

Let me guess: If you chose to go private, you don’t want strangers (“creepers”) to follow you, or you don’t want your boss, professors or parents to see your tweets.

Hearing those reasons makes me cringe. #LikeWhenChalkScreeches

Don’t expect anything that you publish online – whether it is a tweet, Facebook post, blog entry or email – to stay private. #ThatAwkwardMomentWhen your professor pulls up your Twitter account on the projector during class and discovers you’ve been tweeting about the Yankees rather than paying attention. #TrueStory

Even if you have a private account, one of your approved followers can share it with the world by retweeting, copying and pasting or taking a screenshot.

Also, Twitter is not mutual like Facebook is; when someone follows your Twitter, you don’t have to follow his or her Twitter back. There are Facebook friend requests because that social network is for people you’ve met. You would should never accept requests from strangers on Facebook. #SuperbadSceneFTW

Twitter is just the opposite. You should allow strangers to follow you – that sounded wrong, just go with it – because they aren’t actually following you. Rather, they are following your tweets because the information you share interests them. I’ve never met most of my followers and the same goes for the people I follow. #HowdyStranger

I am not ashamed to say that I also follow robots on Twitter. It’s not hard for my favorite websites to set up Twitter accounts that pull headlines and links to articles, but it’s extremely handy when I’m looking for news or something interesting to read. #FeedMe

I’ve noticed from my friends’ private Twitter accounts that a lot of their tweets are conversations with people they know. This also makes me cringe. Why aren’t these conversations happening on Facebook using private messages, chats or wall posts? Facebook is so much more conducive to group messaging than Twitter because comments are threaded under each post.

Twitter is great for several reasons, but keeping your account private defeats many of its purposes.

Primarily, it’s an unbelievably fast news source. Monitoring the trending topics on Twitter allows you to gauge what’s going on in the world – Quinnipiac students need to do this more. #CluelessQU

Each of your tweets should add to the worldwide conversation, and answer the question, “What has my attention?” Always ask yourself, “Why will my followers care about this?” before tweeting.

I admit that appending tweets with humorous hashtags is addicting, but I think they are becoming part of our culture now. I see and hear hashtags everywhere – even on Facebook. So if that’s what’s really drawing you to Twitter, enough is enough. Deactivate your Twitter and keep hashtagging everywhere else you communicate. #LikeThisArticle #ListenToLenny