Something to look forward to: Twitter users have long since wanted the ability to edit their tweets. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey thinks that perhaps the answer lies in re-contextualizing tweets instead of outright editing. In the long run, this could help show growth over time as people's views change.
The ability to edit tweets is probably the holy grail of Twitter. Perhaps a tweet is sent out in haste without any proper spellcheck or the tweet could be construed as insensitive or offensive. Either way, Twitter users have wanted the ability to edit their tweets for years to no avail. However, during a presentation at Goldman Sachs, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey suggested "re-contextualizing" our tweets instead.
“How do we enable people to quickly go back or to any tweet, whether it be years back or today, and show that original tweet — kind of like a quote retweet, a retweet with comment — and to add some context and some color on what they might have tweeted or what they might have meant. By doing so you might imagine that the original tweet then would not have the sort of engagement around it. Like you wouldn’t be able to retweet the original tweet, for instance. You would just show the clarification, you would be able to retweet the clarification, so it always carries around with it that context. That’s one approach. Not saying that we are going to launch that but those are the sorts of questions we are going to ask.”
Dorsey went on to explain that within our current outrage culture, people are being "cancelled" because of something they tweeted years ago. Those people don't necessarily have a way to go back and either provide more context in the old tweet or show that they don't hold those beliefs anymore.
This is likely in reference to various celebrities that have lost credibility due to previous tweets. Kevin Hart lost his hosting duties for the 2019 Academy Awards after tweets from 2011 surfaced that many people deemed homophobic. James Gunn was fired from directing Guardians of the Galaxy after tweets made between 2008 and 2012 surfaced with him joking about rape and pedophilia.
Last year, Dorsey revealed that the company had discussed how to implement an edit feature effectively. He has said in the past that he's leaning toward allowing tweets to have a short window in which to be edited. This would be most useful to correct spelling or grammar mistakes.
Being able to re-contexualize or clarify a tweet might be a happy medium for most people. It would be a way to avoid any misunderstanding or to even provide a rebuttal for previous tweets that were actually offensive. Both Kevin Hart and James Gunn have apologized for their previous tweets and have since changed their views.
Dorsey said that the idea is being talked about within headquarters but the company has no plans to actually release the feature any time soon.
While we should face the consequences of our actions (or tweets), being able to provide more context to our words or refute our own previous beliefs would be valuable and hopefully make the Internet a little more tolerable.