Keep Twitter Tidy

All of us – even the very best – make typos. No matter how accomplished a writer you are there are times when you are going to make mistakes, certainly when trying to squeeze something desperately important into just 140 characters.

In an ideal world, everybody would run their Tweets through a word processor, or would come with a built-in spell checker/grammar grader/text-speak remover. But that’s not going to happen anytime soon.

So, picture the scene: you’ve written your Tweet, clicked the update button, and off it goes into the Twittersphere. Then, suddenly: the horror, the horror. You’ve made a hideous error.

Errors within Tweets come in all shapes and forms, but will generally be one of the following:

a.     A shocking spelling mistake
b.    Terrible grammar
c.     A bad link
d.    You forgot the @ symbol
e.     Twitter and alcohol don’t mix
f.      You said something positive about Scientology

Now what? Well, if you’re like most Twitter users, you’ll simply re-type the message and submit it again.

This is the worst thing you can do.

Why? It’s untidy. Now, not only do you have two very similar messages ‘out there’, but one of them – the first – still has your mistake. If this is a bad link, then you know that your followers are going to click on it. Maybe they already have. That’s why you need to act fast.

So, what to do? Simple: delete your bad message.

(Yes, this might seem like very obvious advice. But believe me, it clearly is not, as hardly anybody does it.)

You can delete a message very easily on just hover your mouse over your post and click on the little trashcan icon. (You can, of course, only delete your own submissions.)

If you’re using TweetDeck, hover your mouse over your avatar (next to the message you want removed), click on ‘other actions’ and select delete.

Once the message is removed, then you should re-submit it, naturally with the mistake rectified. The key part here is to do it quickly. It’s worth doing a quick copy of your bad Tweet into memory, deleting it, and then re-pasting and doing your fix. Do it enough and you’ll have it down to a fine art. My personal best is 0.14 seconds, which I believe is now recognised as a world record.

You won’t be able to reach that kind of standard, but you should be able to get good enough so that nobody notices. Better still, if we work together, we can keep Twitter tidy.