My Thoughts on Why Tweets Cannot and Should Not be Editable

With all of the buzz around Twitter looking for a suitor to sell to at the moment, it reminded me that one item always seems to come up when discussing how to use the social media platform. Not many days go by without someone in my timeline asking “Why can’t we edit our Tweets?”. Here are my thoughts as to why that’s the case.

There is nothing like having a great tweet go out and get lots of engagement, only to realize that there is a glaring typo, or grammatical error. I can’t even count how many times I’ve let one slip with a strange autocorrect that twisted the meaning up.

Bait (Tweet) and Switch

It’s as simple as the use-case where someone sends out a tweet that gets some heat. It could be lots of retweets, or favourites, or even just embedding into another platform. The whole idea of the micro-style of the 140 character platform is that it is a thought at a point in time which could be either a fleeting thought, or a deep idea. Either way you look at it, each tweet is a unique item.

Imagine if you retweet someone’s tweet saying something of a very opinionated nature. Let’s just use a political example where someone may say “If you don’t vote for Party A, you are doing your country a disservice”. That tweet will get a lot of retweets because all of the folks who support Party A are strong believers and want to share their belief.

Now, let’s take that same tweet and make it editable. The person behind the original tweet changes it from “If you don’t vote for Party A, you are doing your country a disservice” to something quite the opposite like “Party A is taking the country down. Thank goodness for Party B”. If you had been a retweeter of that original tweet, you would now have the entirely opposite opinion sitting in your timeline without your knowledge.

Edit and Drop Activity?

What if we say that editable tweets drop the previous activity? If the safety measure to avoid a bait and switch of the tweet is to disconnect it from the engagements (retweets, likes, etc.), then you may as well just delete and recreate the tweet.

This is nothing that is groundbreaking, or a crazy idea that I’m putting out. I just thought I’d put it out to maybe bring some context to it.

Cheers to the new buyer of Twitter, whomever it may be, and happy non-editable tweeting to everyone!

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