What is Twitter about? You send messages; you read messages; you retweet messages. Pretty much it, right? Using most Twitter clients or the web interface gives you great access to this. But, there is so much more. Someone might make your message a favourite. Or, you might pick up a new user. You might get added to a list or removed from a list. The list goes on.
Until now, you may not be able to find this information explicitly. Your client might support that sort of information. I know that Seesmic Desktop does. You just activate the “Activities” column and you get a chance to find out the rest of what’s going on with and around your account.
Recently, Twitter made many of these items discoverable from their web interface. The implementation is that you’ll get an email message whenever something happens. This is a quick and immediate jog if you need that sort of information. Here’s how you can do it. (or how to turn it off)
Log into your Twitter account on the web. Click on the pulldown menu under your name in the top right corner of the screen and select Settings. You’ll get a chance to configure many things about your account. In this case, you want the Notifications tab. Now, you can pick and choose what sorts of activities that you want an email notification for.
It may seem like overkill and there have been complainers about this but there are legitimate times that you’ll want these. You may be in a position where you have email access but no Twitter access. You’ll find out immediately what’s going on around you. Or, like me, you may wish to know where you get a new follower. I like to check them out and, if they’re an educator or somehow else interests me, I’ll follow them back. If it’s a spammer, you may want to immediately block them from your account and report them to Twitter.
There are a myriad of good reasons to select any of the above. The only caveat is that each action generates an email message to you. If you’re very active, the message flow may be too much to handle. It’s really no problem; just go back and uncheck that activity.
For my personal needs, I do want the email when I get a new follower. At this time, I’m going to opt out of the rest and just continue to use Seesmic Desktop’s Activity column for the others. What you choose to do is obviously completely up to you. But, it’s a nice feature to know that you can use.
By the way, while you’re at your configuration screen, you might want to check out the Applications tab. There, you’ll find all of the websites and applications that you’ve authorized to use your Twitter account. You might find a few that you no longer need and wish to revoke access to.
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