Own It: You Can't Delete the Tweet

4 years ago

It's so common that it has become a daily occurrence that someone tweets without thinking, deletes, and posts an apology. Apparently, they are unaware of how the Internet works. Let me explain it to them: between screenshots and archiving, there are no bells that can be unrung online.

The latest bonehead tweet was courtesy of @matingmind who posted (and later removed):

Dear obese PhD applicants: if you didn't have the willpower to stop eating carbs, you won't have the willpower to do a dissertation. #truth.

After he removed the tweet, he posted two insincere apologies insisting that he didn't mean what he said.  Of course he did -- it was something he found true enough to take the time to tweet in the first place.  What he means by those apologies is that he's sorry that people didn't react to it as he hoped they would.  And soon after sites such as Jezebel began posting about his tweet, he quickly locked down his whole Twitter account.

Which only looks worse.

Listen, Geoffery Miller, people make mistakes.  We say hurtful things.  But what I teach my kids is own it; own it when people are hurt by your hurtful words.  Don't pretend it didn't happen or walk away from the conversation.  Stand there and accept that part of online communication means that we stick around to communicate.  Listen, answer, apologize, and remain transparent. 

After all, nothing ever gets deleted from the Internet.  And now we can all read about your deleted tweet for weeks to come on your Wikipedia page.

What do you think of people deleting hurtful tweets after they're called out on them?

Image: Zone41 via Flickr

Melissa writes Stirrup Queens and Lost and Found. Her novel about blogging is Life from Scratch.

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