Three Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Twitter

Here are three new things I discovered about Twitter recently.

You can look but you can’t touch

As the example of @SwitchPay shows, it’s possible to restrict access to your tweets and “complete” profile only to “confirmed” followers.

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When I clicked the “Follow” button to send a request to follow @SwitchPay, I saw a fleeting message saying that my request was sent for approval. The Follow button turned to Pending. I’m not sure what criteria the company uses to approve follow requests but suffice to say that I haven’t heard back from @SwitchPay. Since its profile page says it has “0 FOLLOWERS”, my experience doesn’t seem to be unique.

When you need to dot your tweets

When you start your tweet with a Twitter Handle, be aware that your message will be seen only by the owner of the said Twitter account and its followers who also follow you. If you want your tweet to reach a wider audience, prefix it with a “.” or some such character, as illustrated below.

You must be old enough in 24 hours

If you thought only leaders need to be of a certain minimum age, think again.

Presenting @AnheuserBusch, @Heineken and @Budweiser – the partial list of liquor companies you can follow on Twitter only if you’re older than the legal drinking age, which is 21 in the USA and 25 in India.

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Just to check how these companies verify age online, I took Heineken as a test case. After signing on using a Twitter profile that didn’t include age, I hit the Follow button on @Heineken. Like with any other account, I saw the button change to Following immediately. I was tempted to conclude that age verification was a sham but that proved not to be the case. Soon thereafter, there was an email from Heineken in my inbox asking me to click a hyperlink to verify my age and informing me that I’d lose my Follower status if I didn’t act within 24 hours.

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When I clicked the link, I was taken to Twitter’s age verification page, where I had to declare my date of birth. Some might argue that this step could be gamed by entering any random date but the same could be said of websites that contain even more age-sensitive content.

Maybe Twitter has been having the aforementioned features for a while, but I just happened to notice them.

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