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New Twitter Feature Says Clarification Might Be Better Than Editing

New Twitter Feature Says Clarification Might Be Better Than Editing Blog Feature

Vin Gaeta

Director of Web Services, 10+ Years of Sales & Marketing Experience, 12+ Years of Development Experience, 14+ Years of Project Management Expertise

February 20th, 2019 min read

We’ve all see the stories recently.

--Insert celebrity-- gets in hot water because of a tweet from years back, which is met with apologies, regret, and trying to clarify the situation.

Some notable situations: James Gunn being fired as Director of the hugely successful Guardians of the Galaxy franchise (this still saddens me), Kevin Hart stepping down as host of the Oscars, and Chrissy Teigen receiving tons of backlash after having some not-so-nice tweets come out late last year.


People and brands change, and even more frequently, things can be taken out of context.

With these old posts resurfacing and potentially others, it’s clear “the internet never forgets” and it begs the question, are brands and influencers are prepared?

Wouldn’t it be great if we could just clarify those tweets?

“Let Me Clarify…”

Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s CEO, mentioned last week that he’s “thinking about” adding a Clarification feature to the platform, stating:

“How do we enable people to quickly go back or to any tweet, whether it be years back or today, and show that original tweet — kind of like a quote retweet, a retweet with comment — and to add some context and some color on what they might have tweeted or what they might have meant. By doing so you might imagine that the original tweet then would not have the sort of engagement around it.”

Twitter currently has no way to edit old Tweets, so, users resort to deleting them.

This is an action that, when old convos are dug up, is usually met even more fervor and can dig the proverbial hole a bit deeper. It looks like you’re trying to cover something up, which, in turn, hurts your credibility.

Dorsey did say in the same interview that this is simply an idea, so best not to get your hopes up.

“Not saying that we are going to launch that but those are the sorts of questions we are going to ask.” 

The team at Twitter is always looking for ways to improve the user experience and ensure the messages, specifically news related, you’re getting are the most accurate and contextual.

This feature could help both celebrities and brands shed some light on old posts that could potentially come back to haunt them.

After all, nothing is ever deleted on the internet -- but having the ability to provide context and clarify what you had originally meant may help tell a different story.

Why Does It Matter

Clarifying old content, rather than editing it, helps you build trust.

You’re able to add context to what was posted, rather than trying to change what was already said and done. In possibly problematic situations, it’s always better to acknowledge an issue and build on it rather than trying to sweep it under the rug or pretend like it never happened.

Again, nothing ever is truly deleted on the internet. Just because you think it’s edited, changed, or deleted, doesn’t mean there isn’t a backup somewhere.

Acknowledging what happened shows that you are genuine and that you are not out to deceive people. 

Lastly, going with clarification rather than editing also allows brands that may have older content in the Twittersphere to stay current. With this feature, brands can follow up with a new stat, research or methodology -- even if the initial post is now dated.

Clarification enables brands to keep a historic record of their past activity while still delivering accurate, current information to followers. 

What You Should Be Doing

For now, nothing. It’s yet to be seen if the “clarification” feature will actually come to light.

Although, with the backlash folks are facing over things without context -- it seems like something we could definitely use.

Until it’s released, I recommend doing a holistic audit of your social media presence. Both as a brand and as a human. With new knowledge, insight, and experiences, are there any posts that don’t sit well?

It’s time to take stock of our social footprint online and understand the real image we’re projecting into the world.

Consider responding to your tweets with more up to date information or even quoting your old tweets and responding directly.

While you may draw attention to mistakes or shortcomings; in some instances, this may be better than trying to hide them.

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