To Delete or Not To Delete Old Tweets: That Tweet Didn’t Age Well

stupid tweet

Delete old tweets. Is that a good idea? Like with comments, blogs or other social media posts, the answer is: it depends.

How fast can I type and Tweet?

The thing with Twitter is the real-time, in the moment, NOW-ness of it and how fast you can get your clever, brilliant missive out there while people might be paying attention.

Without wading into various social or political, absurd or offensive hot potato topics du jour, I’ve noticed that if you tweet pretty much anything these days, there will come a day when it’s tweeted right back at you – and not in a nice way.

Everyone has opinions and commentary, and commentary on those opinions and practically every word can and possibly WILL get parsed, twisted, joked and judged. Seriously, Twitters got their drawers bunched over genuine get well prayers. Not sure puppies and kittens are even safe?! AHEM.

ICYMI: Twitter has a way back machine known as Search.

delete old tweets
You can try to delete old tweets, but someone will find them. And show you the receipts.

Someone (not necessarily a hater or troll) will find that old tweet about whatever hashtag trending topic people are tweeting. Oops that tweet didn’t age well and they will:

  • Point out that you’ve changed your position; and/or
  • Had previously committed the very same faux pas you’re now railing against; and/or
  • Were at some point in time like a person, aka completely stupid, possibly horrible in some respect.
  • Deleted hundreds, thousands of crappy tweets and ain’t fooling nobody.
To Delete Old Tweets

A random, completely not definitive and possibly misguided guide to the when, how, why to delete old tweets:

  1. Looking for a job. And you used to be a [bleep]. Yeah, it’s probably a good idea to clean up all social media profiles before HR takes a closer look.
  2. Suddenly celebrity. Or Internet famous, or get a high profile job. What used to go unnoticed could now come back at you, maybe you do want to clear the board before the Internets dig up the dirt.
  3. You’re a brand or business, and a bad tweet was sent. Or your account was ‘hacked’ or some other flub that will be forgotten before the close of business.
  4. You’ve evolved as a person, a tweeter. Your positions have changed and you want to delete the ‘old’ you. Sounds reasonable.

Delete away, there’s many an app for that. Just remember these two things: 1) don’t expect it to work because 2) there’s always a Tweet and someone has it.

Or To Not Delete Old Tweets (AKA What to do instead):
  1. Call yourself out first. Tell HR that you’re human and your SM isn’t perfect. Use it as opportunity to learn the company’s social media policy.
  2. Lock or private your accounts. Won’t always work; see also: the ‘hot’ cop suspended for his old Facebook ‘joke’ or anyone else busted by InstaFame.
  3. Fire someone! Kidding. This one annoys when an unpaid, in-training intern gets thrown under the bus for poorly conceived marketing scheme. Apologize, learn from your mistake and make sure it’s not done again.
  4. Own It. Use the old, bad, horrible you as the example of 1) how people can change and 2) highlight social media’s failings to monitor and protect the networks from that kind of hate, trolling, abuse.

Most importantly and this is the real trick: Don’t be a [bleeping bleep] or Dumb on Social Media in the first place. No deleting required.

Do you delete old tweets? Has it worked – or come back to bite you?


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