Recently I made the decision to delete all of my 32,000 tweets that I have accrued over the past few years. I’m a bit of a natural knowledge hoarder, and so it was something that I had been loathed to do. The reality is though, that even the most privacy conscious of us use Twitter like an instant messaging service, and there is bound to be statements floating around that we might rather not have quite so publicly accessible for all time.
There are services that can delete your entire stream (whilst retaining your tweet count!), as well as those that can automatically delete everything prior to a certain date. (mine is now set to a maximum of one week) However, the latest service to emerge gives a more granular power than anything that we’ve seen before.
TwitterSpirit (or ‘Spirit for Twitter’ depending on where you look) allows you to set a fixed shelf-life of a tweet by using hashtags. ’3h’ will mean the tweet disappears into the ether after 3 hours; ’10d’ gives it 10 days, and… well. You get the idea. The total extent to which you can control this doesn’t seem to be listed anywhere obvious, but minutes, hours, and days appear to be the standard fare.
TechCrunch ran the story yesterday, and declared that this was akin to a SnapChat functionality for Twitter. That is quite clearly utter bollocks, as SnapChat messages are sent to specific users, not broadcast in public. This is a different beast entirely, and could turn out to be an incredibly useful feature, for a whole variety of reasons. Some of the scenarios I’ve briefly thought of are as follows:
- Making a statement that may be controversial, and you just want to say and then have disappear in a short space of time
- Promoting a one day only event or competition
- Giving out promo codes that disappear after so as to not confuse or disappoint users that find them later
- Automatically deleting messages to other people that are more IM style than designed for public consumption
I’m sure there are far more creative ways to make use of this though. Any ideas?
You can sign up for TwitterSpirit here, although with the influx of users since yesterday you might need to wait a bit to test it out for yourself.