Twitter is one of the latest social media websites to hit the big time. A couple of days ago on a website I frequent a debate came up over what is allowed to be linked on the website and if Twitter should be included.
My stance on this is, yes, as long as the links you are using from Twitter, Twitpic, Tweetphoto, etc are from a person who has a public Twitter feed. (My stance on using links from people with private Twitter feeds is a big NO, and in the end they will find out who is distributing their stuff). Using Twitter to find out information is just like using any popular search engine. For the purposes of this article I’m going to use Google as my search engine of choice.
Twitter has a search feature search.twitter.com, in fact there are many other applications out there that also search twitter for trending topics, or anything you may be interested in. One of the first things that is told of you when joining twitter is to use the search to follow people who have similar interests. For example, you want to keep up on the news of your favorite celebrity. In the search field you’d type their name and click search.
This search window shows you a list of publicly listed tweeters (Tweeters who have their tweets unprotected. (Protected Tweets do not show up in the search, and cannot be seen by people who they don’t approve)) who have tweeted about that celebrity.
Considering that Twitter is used like a search engine the original author retains the copyright to their tweets, but but since their tweets are brought up like a search engine brings up web pages, it is very hard to control where your tweets are distributed, just like it is hard to control where your links are re-posted after doing a Google search.
This whole thing has brought up to the debate of do you ask the person if you can link to their tweet or not. My own personal opinion, and again let me reiterate my own personal opinion here is that it would be nice to ask, but technically it is not required as you are providing a link back to the original author of the Tweet. Again using a regular search engine and finding articles, about a person, you wouldn’t go email the person who wrote the article if it’s OK, to re-post, since most articles now-a-days have a share feature which allows you to share the sites with your friends.
You may be wondering what does a regular Google search have to do with all this since the first half of this article was focused on Twitter. I am here to say, a lot because just like a twitter search, you wanted to find some latest information on your favorite celebrity, you type their name into the search field on the Google search page, and click Google Search you come up with a list of websites and yes, even tweets about the celebrity. (Do a Google search with the phrase twitter: celebrity name or a person’s username here and I’m sure most would be surprised to see what pops up).
So if you run something like a link round up to what your favorite celebrity is doing, you would gather the links and post them as one convenient place for others to access the information. Again most information on a Google search is publicly viewed information, so there isn’t an issue with re-distributing the link out.
Which brings us back to Twitter, and how people define what Twitter is. Twitter is just as public as many other websites out there. Lastly, let’s face it; even Twitters Re-Tweet feature is exactly like the big share article feature on a website, you click re-tweet and someone else’s tweet is redistributed out to your list of followers.
In all, if you don’t want your information redistributed, take the time and protect your tweets, change all your settings on all your social media sites and blogging sites to allow only you to view it, or allow a certain list of people to view them. Best yet, if you don’t want pictures or tweets being re-posted, don’t post them on the World Wide Web to begin with.