Why Apps Like Twitter Need An Edit Button

Humans have found ways to fix mistakes since we learned how to create.

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Photo via MasterTux (pixabay.com)

People always say, ‘why reinvent the wheel?’ and I agree. The edit button is a wheel. Humans have been trying to fix mistakes since we learned how to make things. Stone is much harder to edit per-say, but we’ve nailed down the best ways to fix paint, ink, and lead. Among many others.

Why on earth are we still debating to use it or not in the digital age?

This post looks at top social and communication tools and how they leverage editing mechanisms in different ways. Like an eraser on a Dixon Ticonderoga pencil and white-out is to a BIC pen, this post looks at the leaders in the industry for best practices.

Skype and Slack — Edit Free for All (With Notice)

Apps like Slack, an instant messaging platform, and Skype, a telecommunications tool, give you the ability to edit anything you’ve said at any time, no matter how long something has been posted.

That said, if you go back into something you’ve written to edit it, the newly saved text will show a notification that states the text has been edited. There’s no mention of how much or if all of it has been touched up.

Real-life example:

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Snippet from my Slack messages

Pro- Creative freedom. Like a game with infinite lives.

Con- Can you trust what has been said? Yes, but only if it’s unedited. A caveat that could create debate.

WeChat — Timed Edit, Then Locked Into History

An app like WeChat allows editing, but only within 2 minutes after you enter the message. It’s specifically called “recalling,” which, as it sounds, means the whole thing you wrote gets taken back. You cannot edit, only remove.

After this recall period, you can delete the text, but it’ll only be deleted in your own device/records. So your mistake or jackassery will live on forever.

Real-life example:

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Snippet from my WeChat account

Pro- An opportunity to take back something that doesn’t make sense, was sent to the wrong person, etc.

Con- You have to type the whole thing out again. You have to focus on the convo since 2 minutes goes by fast.

Facebook — Free for all w/o Visible Notice

On Facebook posts, you can do infinite editing if you want to. I’m imagining Mark Zucker watching as I post, saying to himself, “Hey user, do whatever you want. Not like I care.” Facebook is an example of a company that allows infinite editing and no visual notice on the post itself.

The only way to see if a post has been edited is to dive deeper into the post itself (horizontal hamburger) and look into its edit history.

Real-life example:

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There is one only one editing limitation! If you’re into boosting posts, aka converting them into ads, you cannot edit the ad once it’s approved and running. You can only stop it, duplicate it, and edit a new version, which will need to be approved again.

Pro — Do what you want.

Con — Like and commented on posts can change without you knowing it, including on business pages. So consider only liking and commenting on pages you know and trust.

Twitter — Zero Editing Ability

Once you tweet, it’s out there. There is no editability, and the only way to fix any mistakes is to delete your tweet.

You angry, bro? Maybe a little bit. This story is written selfishly as a ploy to encourage Twitter to incorporate some Tweet editing mechanism. I’m not alone, either:

Pro — What you see is what you get.

Con — Small mistakes require you to delete your work and start again.

To Err is Human

We all make mistakes. Both at the moment and often times when we look back on something we did or said. Maybe we don’t believe in it anymore, or it just doesn’t represent our most recent thinking.

What are your thoughts on the abiltiy to edit on social and communication tools? To edit or not to edit. This is one ultimate question.

Tweet me @Chicktech and follow me here at Ashley Huffman.

Strategic alliances (haptics & magnetics) at http://Nanoport.io. Founding team @Nanodots. Writes about VR, tech, startups, and autocross.

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