Twitter and Facebook Updates to Show in Search Engines — Are You Prepared?

bing-facebook-google-twitterNow that Bing and Google will be displaying tweets from Twitter and status messages from Facebook, web workers will need to consider how much, and how publicly, we wish to interact with these two social networks.

Twitter

If you’re like I am, your Twitter stream is probably public. For me, the value of Twitter is its ability to let me share news and comments that current and potential clients may find useful. I also use it as a way of interacting with clients if our regular communication channels are down.

So I certainly don’t say anything using @chcs (my company Twitter account) that can’t be public. I also have a personal Twitter feed, @HamiltonChas, that mostly focuses on my comments regarding local politics. I also tweet using @GrowTrains, an account that reflects my interest in improving passenger train service.

Most of the people I’ve talked to compartmentalize their Twitter activities this way. Many of my WWD colleagues have several accounts, each of which focuses on a different aspect of their professional and personal interests. Third-party Twitter clients like Tweetdeck, Brizzly, Nambu and Hootsuite, make it easy to manage more than one account.

Others, however, don’t like this approach. WWD writer Scott wants to see our personal lives — he states”Telling me in your bio that you don’t post personal tweets guarantees I’m not going to follow you back. Aren’t you interesting?” I certainly hope so, but I’m not sure that my clients want to hear me babbling on about the upcoming election in Seattle, or about how we need high-speed trains.

But now that my tweets will be included in search engines, having multiple Twitter accounts will make it possible to make one or more of them private, should I decide to do so. However you use Twitter, make sure that its privacy controls are set in a way that’s appropriate for your needs.

Facebook

I doubt that too many people will be upset by the addition of Twitter messages to Bing and Google, since Twitter’s own search and services such as OneRiot have been around for a while. Facebook searches may prove more controversial.

It’s likely that most people think of Facebook as a much more personal communication outlet than Twitter, since generally, people have Facebook’s privacy controls set to display content only to those they’ve “friended.” And as I wrote about this morning, one can even give different levels of access to certain people — my “personal friends” group can see more of my Facebook activities than my “business contacts” group can.

But I certainly hope that Facebook will give us a way of opting out of having our status messages show up in search engines. At this point, it’s unclear how Bing’s Facebook searches will work (they aren’t live yet). Google will reportedly take a personalized, opt-in approach, only showing status messages of your Facebook friends if both you and your friends tell Google which social networks you use.

It’s also not clear how Facebook Pages and Groups will be searched, although they are generally more public, and mostly used to encourage interaction with fans, or advocate for causes.

So in the coming weeks, web workers will want to evaluate how we balance our privacy against the marketing boost which might come from having our comments appear in Bing and Google searches.

Will you let search engines index your status updates?

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