New Twitter and Google+ updates will impact the way people see you–if you let them.

Both platforms have rolled out changes. And, taking a page out of the Facebook playbook, they’ve done it without warning and without telling their users what they’ve done.

Here’s what you need to know.

Twitter has added a “photo tagging” option. Tucked under Security and Privacy in your account settings is a new photo tagging option. The default: “Allow anyone to tag me in photos.”

Screenshot of Twitter's New Phototagging Options

No, you can’t tag me in photos. You can mention me in the tweet (which is how we’ve “tagged” people in the past), but you can’t ID tag me within the photo. More to the point, it would have been nice if Twitter had asked me before just adding another data point to my profile.

Google+ has added vanity metrics. Buried far down your settings page under Profile, there’s now a little auto-checked box that says “Show how many times your profile and content have been viewed.”

Screenshot of G+ Profile View Setting

 

Leave this checked, and there’s a “views” number on your profile. This is all about making you spend more time on its platform (and, yes, I’ve unchecked it).

Do you care about the new Twitter and Google+ updates?

The platforms are in charge and we’re just data points.

The bigger picture (no pun intended) is that we’re just data points and Google+, Twitter, Facebook, and other companies are using us as lab rats. It’s a tradeoff, the price we pay for having some pretty awesome community and collaboration (and broadcasting) tools. But it’s also a reminder of why you don’t want to put all your efforts into a platform owned by someone else and why you need your own hub (i.e., your Web site).

Meanwhile, LinkedIn has been blocking my invites. Since you probably rarely actually click into your inbox (let alone your inbox invitations), you might not know that LinkedIn sometimes blocks invitations.

Screenshot of LinkedIn blocked invitations

I found it by accident, and it had blocked several invitations from people I know. So check it for yourself and make sure this isn’t happening to you.

Photo by Paul Stocker (Flickr).