How to Use Twitter’s Edit Button To Help Anxious Clients.

Pencil eraser over the Twitter logo, set on a blue background with Clyde Group's logo

Since the first days of Twitter, one of the most appealing aspects of the technology has also been its most frightening: the thrilling permanence of sending messages out into the internet. While Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and other social media allow for mistakes, Twitter has always been the outlier — forcing you to delete the whole thing or let an error-filled tweet linger indefinitely online.

Now, Twitter is about to make part of that transaction a lot less intimidating, and it has implications for every professional who has a hand in their client’s social media presence.

Beginning soon, (Twitter hasn’t said exactly when) all users will have the ability to edit tweets within 30 minutes of posting them. That’s different from deleting tweets, which has been a tool but was never really useful because of screenshots and other technology. The edited tweets will look like every other tweet but will allow the user to make grammatical fixes, tinker with the wording of a message, or revise the entire thread or message.

The timing of this announcement is curious, since Twitter simultaneously this month touted their plan to let users begin sending tweets to a limited “circle” of followers, up to 150, who will see tweets that other followers will not have access to. In the meantime, users of Twitter who employ the editing feature will be able to prevent the types of dramatic embarrassments that come from misspellings and poorly constructed tweets that raise questions the second they are tweeted.

Good examples of this type of tweet are when the U.S. Department of Education misspelled the name of W.E.B. Du Bois, Kim Kardashian misspelled the name of designer Giorgio Armani in a post about makeup, or Delta Airlines tweeted the infamous giraffe. There are an endless number of Twitter-centric mistakes that have unintentionally gone viral and are now circulating online; too many to count, but not so many that we can’t learn from the errors of others.

In this case, the changes to the way Twitter technology works are going to be useful to every Twitter user but even more so for the people whose job it is to find creative ways to employ Twitter on behalf of clients. Clever Twitter campaigns are a great way to build customer enthusiasm or follower engagement that both amuse and entertain, not to mention motivate.

Everyone who has used Twitter or other social media effectively on behalf of clients knows that it requires a deft touch. Many PR experts have struggled to bring along nervous clients into the space who worry that the unpredictable nature of social media is too much risk for too little benefit. Editing options should change that, and allow everyone to breathe just a little easier — and maybe savvy Twitter users will find a way to make the editing function part of a new tactic to drive curiosity about tweets? Time, and plenty of tweets, will tell.


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