A loud and deeply wrong contingent has demanded an edit button from Twitter for over a decade, and now they are getting their wish. “Begone typos and grammar mistakes! Begone fat-fingered auto corrected slip-ups and textual despair!” the New York Times declared. Whatever. The only thing worse than this idea is Twitter’s cutesy announcement about it.
I won’t be okay. I flatly refuse to be okay and nobody, not my therapist or God, can force me otherwise. To be serious for a moment, an edit button heightens Twitter’s worst tendencies. It will be even easier for bad actors to spread hate or propaganda and the politicians who use the platform will be able to edit their pronouncements in real time. Yes, they can already delete whatever it is they say, but why make life easier for them? Twitter has proposed a solution, which is to label edited tweets and allow users to view a history of edits. This will help, probably, but it’s not enough to rescue this idea from the people who will abuse it.
There’s also something cowardly about an edit button. When I tweet a typo — this happens often — I either leave it up or quickly delete it and repost it without errors. It’s a penitential process. I know I let down my reply guys and I want to do better for them. They are freaks, as I am a freak, as we are all freaks on Twitter. We have collectively degraded ourselves by using this terrible website and the website in turn punishes us constantly for our decisions. Cleansing, somehow; worrying, definitely. The depressing truth is that while I won’t quit using Twitter because of the edit button, I will, however, judge everyone who edits a Tweet. And really, isn’t judgment what social media is all about? Give Twitter credit for this much. Like Facebook, it unveils the truth of human existence. We suck, and we’re getting worse all the time.