Deleting Tweets: The Fine Art of Missing the Point

Browsing through the pages of theguardian.com this afternoon, I came across the following news article, posted today, November 19 2014:

Twitter Public Tweets on theguardian.com

The article alerts users of Twitter to the fact that the social network has opened up the possibility of searching all tweets ever sent since the service’s launch in 2006, using its new tweet search engine.

With little other content, the main focus of the article is about how to permanently remove tweets one has previously sent, by:

  • Closing your Twitter account;
  • Deleting individual tweets;
  • Block-deleting tweets over a longer time period.
  • Whilst there may be legitimate reasons for users to wish to delete tweets, such as to correct typographical errors, or as part of a retraction of certain statements (in some legal cases, for example) I am concerned that the article makes no reference at all to individuals taking any level of responsibility for what they tweet at the time of tweeting.

    I find it troubling that the focus is on covering your tracks when you post a picture of yourself with a traffic cone on your head whilst lying in a pool of your own vomit at 4am on a Saturday morning, rather than considering whether or not posting it is the best decision in the first place.

    For me, this is where the article misses the point, and it’s a shame.

    What do you think? Does the ability to remove tweets make us less accountable for our actions? Do you teach teachers and students about the need for managing a positive digital footprint?