The heart of tech

This article was published on August 29, 2010

Does Twitter need an ‘Edit Tweet’ button?

Does Twitter need an ‘Edit Tweet’ button?

There are lots of tweets floating around today with the hashtag #TwitterEditButton, from people who think Twitter should implement the option to edit tweets after they’ve been published.

There’s no doubt that such a function would be useful. Whether it’s a simple typo or something potentially libellous, most of us will have regretted a tweet the minute it’s sent at some time.

That said, part of the appeal of Twitter is its real-time, ‘stream of consciousness’ nature. Having the ability to go back and edit what you’ve said could ruin the fun. Many a goodstory has come from someone who has tweeted too much accidentally. That said, those people have always had the option to delete their tweets, so an edit function wouldn’t be that much of a leap.

It would be sensible if there were some limitations in place. Maybe users could only edit their latest tweet for, say, ten minutes after initial publication. That would certainly be useful for perfectionists who spot a typo and want to change it quickly, or for people who mis-type a URL.

Would it be technically possible? Twitter already has the ability to undo retweets, and innovations like adding custom metadata to tweets are on the way. Bolting on an ‘edit’ function must surely be feasible. (Edit: a commenter below disagrees. We’d love to hear the thoughts of more people with a deep technical understanding of Twitter on this).

So Twitter, how about it?