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Losing Ground: When Twitter Deletes Tweets

Screenshot of JOIN TODAY Twitter homepage

What? I could be new to Twitter.

So, Twitter is World Cup Headquarters. Or, so Twitter staff hopes. In order to prepare, they’ve been “working through tweaks” in the service, according to the official Twitter blog. This has resulted in many users losing not just a few tweets to deletion, but thousands of tweets. Poof. Gone. I was at more than 14,000 tweets. I’m down to around 900.

I joked about this today on Twitter, presenting the idea that I’m new to Twitter. I mean, only 900+ tweets, that’s a total n00b number. Someone called PurpleCar may have called you a jackass, or called you out on some extremist crap, or made some snarky remark in the past, but now there’s no proof that this was me. So for all you know, I’m sweet. Nice, even. Nicest person on Twitter!

More jokes between me and my Twitter people went back and forth. You have to laugh at this stuff. Twitter deleted my past, but actually it was their past to delete. We all want to keep our data out there forever, as if every tweet is our genetic data, our little children we set loose on the world. Narcissism runs deep.

Tweets aren’t holy. They aren’t meant to be recorded for posterity, for our eventual controversial best-selling biography, for our great-grandchildren doing genealogy research. Tweets are small snippets of current thoughts, not earth-shattering wisdom for the ages. Your daily data isn’t divine. Get over it and have a sense of humor about data loss.

Today, I chose to joke that I could now easily reinvent myself, seeing that I’m free of past mis-tweets. In my last tweet on the subject, I put a link up to George Michael’s song Freedom. I’ve included the lyrics below. Listened to/Read in the context of “Hey, I can reinvent PurpleCar” and “Yous guys cain’t prove nothin,'” the song turns out to be pretty relevant.  Happy New Tweeting, everyone!

Twitter’s blog post “What’s Happening with Twitter”

FREEDOM (YouTube Vid)

FREEDOM Lyrics

Freedom ’90
George Michael

I won’t let you down
I will not give you up
Gotta have some faith in the sound
It’s the one good thing that I’ve got
I won’t let you down
So please don’t give me up
Because I would really, really love to stick around

Heaven knows I was just a young boy
Didn’t know what I wanted to be
I was every little hungry schoolgirl’s pride and joy
And I guess it was enough for me
To win the race? A prettier face!
Brand new clothes and a big fat place
On your rock and roll TV
But today the way I play the game is not the same
No way
Think I’m gonna get me some happy

I think there’s something you should know
I think it’s time I told you so
There’s something deep inside of me
There’s someone else I’ve got to be
Take back your picture in a frame
Take back your singing in the rain
I just hope you understand
Sometimes the clothes do not make the man

All we have to do now
Is take these lies and make them true somehow
All we have to see
Is that I don’t belong to you
And you don’t belong to me
Freedom
You’ve gotta give for what you take
Freedom
You’ve gotta give for what you take

Heaven knows we sure had some fun boy
What a kick just a buddy and me
We had every big shot good-time band on the run boy
We were living in a fantasy
We won the race
Got out of the place
I went back home got a brand new face
For the boys on MTV
But today the way I play the game has got to change
Oh yeah
Now I’m gonna get myself happy

I think there’s something you should know
I think it’s time I stopped the show
There’s something deep inside of me
There’s someone I forgot to be
Take back your picture in a frame
Don’t think that I’ll be back again
I just hope you understand
Sometimes the clothes do not make the man

All we have to do now
Is take these lies and make them true somehow
All we have to see
Is that I don’t belong to you
And you don’t belong to me
Freedom
You’ve gotta give for what you take
Freedom
You’ve gotta give for what you take

Well it looks like the road to heaven
But it feels like the road to hell
When I knew which side my bread was buttered
I took the knife as well
Posing for another picture
Everybody’s got to sell
But when you shake your ass
They notice fast
And some mistakes were built to last

That’s what you get

I say that’s what you get

That’s what you get for changing your mind

And after all this time
I just hope you understand
Sometimes the clothes
Do not make the man

I’ll hold on to my freedom
May not be what you want from me
Just the way it’s got to be
Lose the face now
I’ve got to live

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Mike_S_Htown 4 July 2010, 6:19 pm

    “Twitter deleted my past, but actually it was their past to delete. We all want to keep our data out there forever, as if every tweet is our genetic data, our little children we set loose on the world. Narcissism runs deep.”

    Christine,

    Exactly why I often take conversations started on Facebook to e-mail. I have e-mail going back to 4/1998.

    Why, yes — I *am* an anal computer scientist. How did you know? 🙂

    • PurpleCar 4 July 2010, 6:47 pm

      Mike, man, why on earth would you save emails? Collecting them for your memoirs?

      I don’t think it’s anal, I think it’s ego. 😉

      -C

  • Mike_S_Htown 4 July 2010, 7:19 pm

    Well, in my defense, it’s not so much that I save them — it’s that I don’t delete them. And, I don’t just save the contents of my outbox — I save all of ’em… 🙂

    I walk the computer geek walk. Trust me — it’s more anal than ego!

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