Never drink and tweet. The social media “golden rule” could also apply to moments when your emotions get the better of you, and you hit “send” on a tweet you now wish you could delete. Many others have gone before you, tweeting the dumb: “Atlanta spelled backwards is Atlanta.” and dumber: a screenshot of one’s credit card number with information on the back code.
If you’ve committed similar mistakes on the microblogging site, you’ll naturally want to know how to edit a tweet.
How Do You Edit a Tweet You’ve Posted?
Although you can delete old tweets, it’s highly likely that some curious type will try and scour the web archives to find deleted tweets. And they may even succeed if they knew the right tools because it is doable to dig up embarrassing, damning or cringe-worthy posts.
Just ask some of the celebrities who’ve lost a gig because an old tweet resurfaced, putting them in a negative light and forcing them to apologize about an idea they may no longer believe in.
You yourself could even use Wayback Machine for Twitter posts that were deleted. But results will be limited to tweets that were recorded by the Internet Archive platform. You won’t be able to see deleted tweets individually.
If you don’t want anyone digging up your old posts, or if you’ve posted something and realized it contained a typo — here’s how to “edit” a tweet.
Go to your Profile page and find the tweet you want to tweak, change or delete.
Open that tweet in another window and highlight what you wrote
To the right of the display, click the dropdown menu and choose Delete
Then right another tweet. But this time, make sure it’s correct:
- Read what you’ve typed before clicking the Tweet button
- Do a quick spell check and fact check (are those dates and figures correct?)
- Think about how your tweet may be received by everyone in your network
- Are you going to have the same opinion a year or so from now?
- If reacting to a news story, did you read the entire article and is it from a credible source?
So you can “edit” a tweet after posting, but all you’re doing is really deleting and writing another version of your tweet.
But what about a retweet? What if you change your mind about sharing someone else’s post? How do you even delete a retweet?
In your account:
- Go to your Tweets section
- You’ll notice a green arrow in the upper right corner; this is where you’ll see your retweets
- Scroll through to find the retweet you want to delete
- Click the Retweeted icon, and it will remove it from your timeline
The microblogging site has no Edit button, which is why you’ll always have to go through the process of deleting, and it may never implement one.
Why Twitter Doesn’t Have an Edit Button
Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter, has answered the edit button request from many: it’s not happening people.
Dorsey said a definite “no” to this feature during an interview with Wired, explaining Twitter began as a text messaging service in which you can only tweet when you send a text. And a text message can never be taken back. According to the Twitter CEO, the brand wants “to preserve that vibe and that feeling in the early days.”
Another reason behind the no edit button on Twitter is that it’s going to be a lot of work. Your tweet could be retweeted by someone, and when you change that tweet hours or days after, then the person who retweeted it will have to retweet your edited post. In the end, the retweet may just sow confusion or muddle an online conversation.
If you really can’t take a moment to go over your tweet, an option would be to pay for an automated program that will delete offending posts. From a comment you regret to a horrible typo loading your tweet with innuendo, auto-deletion from Brizzly+ will come at a price. Brizly+ is one of many Twitter clients. But you’ll have peace of mind choosing from a 24-hour, a week, or a month option to have your tweets erased from the microblogging site.
Of course, if Wayback Machine’s crawled that page on the day you posted, someone may still be able to view your deleted tweets.
Now if it’s been a particularly bad year of posting on Twitter, and you want to just delete your account and just get away from the social media noise, you could.
Just follow the deactivation process, and Twitter.com will no longer display your display name, username and profile.
In the end, you don’t want to rely solely on the platform or technology to “edit” you. You have to do it yourself. So don’t instantly tweet a comment, or rush to retweet an article you may have just skimmed.
An Update on “Edit Tweet”: It’s Happened
So it appears that Jack Dorsey may have reconfigured his position on the edit tweet feature. The social media platform recently rolled out its Edit Tweet feature, which allows users to finally make changes to their posts. The edited tweet then bears an edited icon once you’ve refined what you wanted to say. The icon lets your followers know that the original post was edited.
But this much-awaited feature isn’t for everyone. Only Twitter users on Twitter Blue have the privilege to use edit tweets. Twitter Blue is a paid subscription. Members pay a monthly fee that allows them first dibs on whatever features Twitter is working on, among them Edit Tweet.
Twitter Blue subscribers not only have the option to make changes to previous posts. But they also get to undo tweets and have access to personalization options. Twitter Blue may be ideal for entrepreneurs and businesses managing their social media presence. to tweak a post when adding new information, to walk back an announcement or to correct misspellings and grammar.
In addition to changing an original tweet, edit history is also part of this newly rolled out feature for Blue members. The tweets are editable within the next half hour and the post may be changed up to five times.
Edit Tweet is initially rolled out to Blue members in Australia, Canada and New Zealand. According to reports, the U.S. market will follow suit. Whether this most requested feature will eventually be provided to all Twitter users is still unclear.
Think Before You Tweet
Until then, give your words a good examination before you hit the Tweet button. Then and only then can you rest easy knowing you’ve sent a good, clear message into the digital world and not have to get anxious about deleting it in the future.