This afternoon I helped a colleague of Health Science to create a Twitter account. One thing that struck me is that if you give in your name, it is not clear whether the name you give in becomes your handle, so @Namegivenin. Apparently it is, but, without any consultation of the new user, Twitter decided to shorten the name (15 characters seems to be the max.) and changed the last part from “ven” into “v1”. It would have made sense if Twitter would have asked for alternatives.
What happened afterwards is even more surprising. She was suggested to follow three Twitter users. Two were general media sites, and the third was me. Must be some cookie thing, or Twitter knows that my computer is often used by this Twitter user (me) that might be of interest to anyone else using my computer. When she decided to follow me, the suggested media handles remained and a new person was suggested. This person we had just talked about. I had told her that when this person once said to me he followed me on Twitter, that alone was almost enough for me being glad to have ever started using Twitter. Bit scary. You immediately think about eaves dropping. Sort of “just because you're paranoid, does not mean they are not after you”.
Then the biggest surprise. She left. I walked with her to the door. When I returned, the account was locked. Why? For violating Twitter rules! There was really nothing I could think of in terms of violation. Maybe, Twitter thought we were robots. For me to unlock I had to guess some cars on pictures, so I could prove I was not a robot. No idea why Twitter might have thought we were robots. Anyway, I also had to enter her phone number, which, after asking her, I did. Then she got this code via SMS which she forwarded, and then the account was unlocked.Now the Twitter account is up and running. To me it is yet another illustration how poor algorithms often work. Hence, must have been some algorithm that decided we were robots, or maybe another Rule violation (no idea what).