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FAQs of (Web) Life: An Advice Column

A: You can be anonymous--and silent--on Twitter!

Dear Social Media Scaredy Cat,

It’s time to man up. Twitter is a great place to start your online adventures. It’s the least intrusive, most anonymous, and easiest to use social platform out there.

There are many ways to protect your identity on Twitter. First, create a non-identifying nickname for your Twitter username. It can be as generic as you want and can be changed at any time under Settings>Account>Username. It doesn’t have to include your name or location. Once you’ve signed up for Twitter, you can change your first name and last name under Settings>Profile>Name. You must type something in this space, but you can cheat the system and type something generic like “book nerd” as long as it’s less than 20 characters.

If you don’t want to be found by any friends, uncheck the box that says “Let others find me by my email address” under Settings>Account>Email. To be extra safe, uncheck “Add a location to your tweets” under Settings>Account>Tweet Location. Most importantly, check the box next to “Protect my tweets” under Settings>Account>Tweet Privacy. Now no one can follow you unless you approve them.

Despite social media’s best efforts to be social, you can follow people on Twitter without tweeting yourself. Try to find users with the little blue check mark next to their name (which means they are “official” accounts) or those with lots of followers and lots of tweets. Users will know when you’re following them, but otherwise you’re completely invisible to everyone.

Even though you’re a huge baby, I do recommend sending a few tweets out there into the world. That’s where the “social” part of “social media” comes in. Trust me, it won’t hurt. (P.S. You CAN delete anything you tweet under your profile by clicking “delete” at the bottom of the tweet. Really, you have nothing to lose.)

Sincerely,

Aubre Andrus