Background: Individual A sent a friend an "@" prefixed tweet asking for advice. A company doing a general twitter search picked up the message and sent a message to individual A offering their services to help. Individual A spat the dummy claiming he was the recipient of spam, his privacy has been abused and pretty much that the sending company was solely guilty for world hunger, the plague and the great flood all in one.
All this would have been a storm in a teacup but Mashable picked up on it and the discussion floodgates opened.
Let’s clarify this – Twitter is a public world – anyone who sends a general message or an "@" prefixed message does so in the knowledge that their message is well and truly in the public domain. The very value of Twitter lies in the fact that it is a collaborative communication channel and gains can be made by communicating in the "village square".
I mean it’s like the local nutter who preaches at the town square, precisely because he can talk to/with/at a wider audience. But we’d be incredulous if he suddenly complained because someone heard his preaching and quoted him somewhere else. Or if the competing fruit-cake religious sect suddenly solicited him.
We communicate via Twitter precisely for the reason that our utterances, inconsequential or otherwise, can be seen in unexpected quarters – and it’s from these obscure connections that the magic of the village square can unfold.