Why you can’t take back a Tweet

Today, I was so excited to see how Obama ranked UNC on his bracket that I opened the link, glanced at his picks, and Tweeted that UNC was in his Final Four selection. Awesome, right?

After Tweeting, I went to see where Dook ranked. Uh oh. They weren’t there. Scrolling down, I realized I’d missed the entire bottom half of the bracket, which clearly shows that UNC is in the Elite 8, but not the Final Four. The Final Four would be where Dook was located.

Feeling highly dumb (and realizing 32 teams did seem a little sparse), I went to delete my Tweet and vowed not to post about sports again. Most journalists don’t believe in deleting Tweets, choosing only to correct them with a follow-up. But I figured it had only been a few seconds — there was no way anyone had read it yet, right? Wrong. Within a few seconds, the original post had four Re-Tweets, including someone who Tweeted the incorrect news at Kendall Marshall. Damn.

NYU journalism professor Jay Rosen wrote a great post today on his own major Twitter screw-up, in which he mis-interpreted an event and someone’s reason for leaving his job. Why did the mistake happen, he asked?

Doing more than one thing at once. Moving far too quickly from an inference to an assertion. Failing to fact check myself. Failing to ask in the first place: what do you actually know, Rosen?

So I, along with Rosen, learned three things today:

  • You can’t really delete Tweets.
  • Apparently people don’t click links to verify what I Tweet.
  • I need to work on my reading/scrolling/sports knowledge skills.


One Comment so far. Leave a comment below.
  1. Sara,

    I eagerly wait for the day where you can edit Tweets to fix typos and the like, with a way to indicate that it’s been changed, of course.

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