The editable digest — a peek into why no-edit Twitter may mean something

‘Do more with less’ is a testament to the beyond-clichéd phrases. But, a product that has taken this statement as a vision is good ol’ Twitter. Well, actually, if you did think that was all, you’re wrong — the beauty of the product lies in its belief to promote free and global conversations. While it took just minutes for most of us to fill in university papers or scrapbooks, there are instances that it took much more time to share some news within 280 characters. Let’s take a moment to thank Twitter for the endless experiences it’s given us — from the years of fancying the verb ‘tweet’ to wondering what to post in our ‘fleets.’

Twitter has been in the news very recently for a bunch of fad updates. Just as a kid’s attention goes to something that the mom says never-to-do, we the Twitter users, have one thing reiterating in our minds — will there ever be an ‘edit’ option to this it’s-what’s-happening platform?

This got me pondering (well, technically everyone did), and instead of siding slimy to the thoughts of grumbling, I started matching up caches and forming observations. And, now, let me take you down the path of why it’s totally okay to not have an ‘edit’ option in Twitter and still do as much as you always did with it. Buckle up!

While as an end-user, however thwarting the tweeting experience is, most of us require an edit option for only one purpose — to address the typos. Errs are quite common and often the nature and the depth of the erroneous attempts vary — from skewing of alphabets to misguided URLs or media (business-centric). As much as we justify the wanting, there’s one purview we’ve been myopic about. The ‘mission’ behind Twitter as a platform — setting up some research around this gave room to another pathway of not eviscerating ‘edit’ but realizing what could occur at a larger goal-consequence level.

That said, it isn’t the final story that there’ll be no option to make edits at all. Unprecedented motions can happen, but this article is just a quick memo to wire down the possibilities of a hitherto unavailable edit.

In many instances, Jack Dorsey goes on to explain the very nature of kickstarting Twitter — more of an SMS or an instant messaging platform, which eventually envisioned as an out-and-out social media platform. The present rate at which tweets get published is astonishing — just like childbirth — 500 million tweets/day accounting up to 6000 tweets/second. The instant of information delivery (free and global, don’t forget!) keeps this platform always on the move. Within the blink of an eye, the 280-character news from you could reach nook and corner, thanks to the lifetime of a tweet with just 18 minutes.

Now, just think about this — your feed works in such a way that every few seconds, a flush of new tweets gets updated to your screen. One might not be surprised to lose a link that you wanted to copy from your favorite tweet only to leave the screen untouched for a few seconds. This kind of a ranking algorithm fixes the ‘availability’ as well as the ‘relevancy’ of the tweet to only a few minutes. Imagine that an edit option is there — what happens? Each time you edit something, information parsing happens, and the same tweet is liable to get repeated in loop into your feed. Would that do any good to your audience as well, considering the lifetime of a tweet? Even if it comes with an ‘edited’ tag, information is seldom capable of its original attention this way.

Okay, I hear you! All the LinkedIn fans in the house may now stage a war saying both platforms are social media and LinkedIn already has an option to edit the posts. Well, this is why I insinuated at the very beginning about ‘mission’ and ‘purpose’ of a product. LinkedIn, despite being a social platform, doesn’t fall into a news-generating media. It’s not a place, even if used for dissemination of trending information now, that was originally intended for this. Being tucked into the professional worldview, LinkedIn mirrors building professional relationships and creating a brand-image of self; so, the algorithm in LinkedIn doesn’t serve the intention as in Twitter.

Considering the ‘news’ aspect of Twitter, think about this — if at all a provision of edit is present, anyone can go against the integrity of the platform. A person who tweets something this minute, can trail fake attention to garner likes and retweets, only to reverse the messaging later. The result? Spreading false incinerating updates, abuse of the ethics, and misleading delivery with unauthentic control — and, this is the bigger picture, y’all! Who can you track down for misuse? Of course, flagging of sensitive data comes handy, and more often, we’ve been seeing this on Twitter for good (and controversies). But, one can’t help but agree on the chances for a thousand retweets before a wake-up move. Re-routing to the lifetime of a tweet, it’ll end up being a scam with wrong tags than what it actually meant to achieve.

And, why is it that emails or instant messenger texts aren’t editable? Because we built our ‘behavior trait’ over it, again and again, that we forget to see Twitter’s core purpose is to belong there in that space, while still delivering what’s happening to everyone in the world.

Another interesting line of thought involves Twitter’s recent releases — fleetingly driven ‘fleets’ and voice-enabled audio tweets, also referred to as ‘twoice’ by Kara Swisher in her recent Pivot podcast with Scott Galloway. Let’s take them one by one. The former one, as much as all of us thought as replication of SnapChat and Instagram owned stories, also resonated something else — a direct way to drop thoughts into other followers’ DM. With every reaction to fleets, all our DMs are kept active (shall I say revived) so we can instantly connect with each other through messages (recollect SMS behavior). And, even if it hints at so many marketing opportunities, I can’t help but think of audio tweets as multimedia texts (MMS, all hail!). Together, onward and upward, I see Jack’s point of why he keeps Twitter refreshingly steered towards preserving the messaging culture.

While all of what we discussed doesn’t corroborate the implausibility of edits in tweets, but the main theme of me to pen this article down is to throw light to the alternate chapters of what a no-edit Twitter contributes for. Maybe, it all lies in the perspective. For once, let’s set aside the collective ‘social media’ nomenclature, and think about each platform at its very core existence and purpose. How does it look?

P.S. The reason behind naming this as ‘the editable digest’ is because it’s a collection of observations that may by far differ from what you may have. But, sharing is caring, so feel free to add on how you think the edit or no-edit Twitter works.