Four reasons why Twitter’s “undo send” idea seems useless

Four reasons why Twitter’s “undo send” idea seems useless

On Friday, Twitter confirmed to Reuters that it is testing a function that would give users a few seconds to cancel a tweet after sending it, but how much use is this?

Jane Manchun Wong, an app researcher, shared a gif of what the feature would look like:

This may be useful for impetuous Twitter users who have a habit of instantly regretting their tweets, but a tech expert at Ryerson University, Richard Lachman, has described this as “not a major story” and “not really in the set of features I would want to see”.

I’d have to say I don’t think it’s of much benefit either. Here’s why:

1. The notification appears to cover up the tweet

Wong’s gif may just be a stripped-down visual representation of the feature, but what strikes me is that it looks like you can’t see the tweet while you’re being given the option to unsend it. Surely if you have just five or six seconds to decide whether or not you want to send a tweet, the least you need to do is be able to see whether what you’ve said is accurate, grammatically correct and something you’re happy with broadcasting to the Twittersphere?

2. It increases stress

A few replies to Wong’s tweet indicate that having this small window of time to reconsider their tweets would simply cause them to panic. How many tweets will be “undone” purely because users are being hesitant and indecisive? From a social media marketer’s point of view, it seems a little unproductive, and could foster brinksmanship as a habit. It’s better to check your tweet carefully before sending it.

3. You can delete tweets anyway

In most cases, if you realise upon tweeting something that you should have said it differently, or not at all, you can simply delete the tweet and try again without any major comeback. It’s not ideal, but unless you’ve said something exceptionally stupid, it should be possible to move on from it. It’s only high-profile politicians and companies that tend to suffer from quickly retracted tweets, as they have enough interest behind them to ensure somebody will screenshot and immortalise their mistake.

4. You have to pay for it

Yes, that’s one small detail we haven’t come to yet. This feature is solely for Twitter’s proposed paid subscription model. Functions like “super follow” and the lure of less advertising may tempt some Twitter users to stump up for a subscription service, but this feature? I’m not so sure.

For many users, this seems like Twitter finding yet another way of putting off introducing something they’ve been demanding for years – an edit function. The company considered this as long ago as 2013, but editing would have ramifications on Twitter’s dynamics – especially when it comes to embedding tweets – and it seems CEO Jack Dorsey is resolved on his decision not to introduce the option.

The advice remains to think carefully about what you tweet, read it back to yourself first and consider context. For social media management and other online content with search engine optimisation in mind, we’re here to help at Engage Web.

Content Team Leader at Engage Web
John works for Engage Web as a Content Team Leader and regularly contributes to the website and programmes of his beloved Chester F.C.
John Murray

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