As Social Media Managers, the ability to edit tweets would make our lives a lot easier. Just popping back in to correct a typo, change a detail, maybe add or change an image would make the process of using Twitter for business more fluid and versatile. But Twitter wasn’t designed for business use, it was designed for real time conversation and interaction. Once you put a tweet out there to the world, that’s it - it’s out there. You can delete a tweet but you can’t edit the content.
When Jack Dorsey, Chief Executive of Twitter, appeared on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast, he spoke about how Twitter was built on SMS and how, like a text message, a tweet can’t be retrieved once it’s sent. He did shed some light on the possibility of how it might work. The conversation went like this:
Rogan: The ability to edit, like if you make a typo or something like that. But also the ability for people to see the original.
Dorsey: We’re looking at exactly that. The reason we don’t have edit in the first place is we were built on SMS, we were built on text messaging. Once you send a text, you can’t take it back. So when you send a tweet it goes to the world instantaneously. You can’t take it back.
You could build it as such so maybe we introduce a 5-second to 30-second delay in the sending. And within that window, you can edit. The issue with going longer than that is it takes that real-time nature of the conversational flow out of it.
Rogan: Isn’t clarity more important? You’re still going to have the ability to communicate quickly.
Dorsey: It depends on the context. If you’re in the context of an NBA game, you want to be fast and in the moment. You want to be raw. But if you’re in the context of considering what the president just did or making a particular statement, then you probably need some more time. And we can be dynamic there.
There is obviously potential for the editing function to be abused and this is clearly something Twitter are taking seriously. So it doesn’t sound like the editing feature is coming our way just yet, but this little teaser is a glimmer of hope for those of us holding out for it!
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