Edit a Tweet! Can you or Can't you?


If there is absolutely nothing to be done on a Sunday evening in the college campus, it is difficult not to come up with hoards of meaningless time-killing activities. To add to that, a discussion over Twitter, one of the most loved and equally despised social app, is always amusing, and this time the topic was "Why can't you edit a Tweet?". Of course you can delete one and post a replacement, but editing is a different level of convenience. What is it that makes it possible to edit a facebook post, but not the tweet?

I think the answer to this question lies in what makes a Tweet and a facebook update so different. No, I am not talking about the 140 character long enforced limit on Twitter, but it could be the way people construct Tweets vs the way people compose their facebook updates. It is the same old battle between the words and the pictures. A tweet is about characters and words whereas a facebook update is about the pictures. I bet more than 80% of fb posts include an image: you check-in to a different city - facebook adds the picture of the city, you share a link: facebook extracts and pastes the picture from the webpage. Whatever you share on facebook, image has to be the most central piece in the content. It is no-brainer that fb updates containing pictures generate much more engagement compared to the text-only updates. Once you post an update, changing text here and there will not alter the context. In fact if you change the image on the post, it will almost be equivalent to a new post, which is why editing a post on facebook is possible.

Further to this contrast lies the way people react to facebook update vs how people react to a tweet. A facebook update doesn't get quoted in media, does not generate as many shares as a Twitter re-tweet does. Sometime back, facebook toyed with the idea of note writing, and for obvious reasons it just didn't work. facebook is not about sharing ideas, thoughts and random musings (like this post!). On the other hand, a tweet is everything a facebook post is not - a thought, a position, a reaction, a fire weaved into 140 characters. People talk, quote, re-tweet and live by the words in a tweet, and editing a tweet will be a disaster for its own life. Having said that, how about only a typo-editing feature on Twitter?