Thursday, May 10, 2012

Why I (usually) delete @replies on Twitter

You might notice that after we have a conversation on Twitter, if you check your timeline/mentions a month or two later, my replies might be gone.  I assure you this is NOT a sign of disrespect.  It's actually a deliberate choice, that was echoed in this guy's explanation:

The relevant portion of what he wrote is here:

I use Twitter as a smaller, creative outlet. I share links, write bad jokes and occasionally troll my followers for fun. I also obsessively delete replies after I am sure the person it is directed to has read it. When someone visits my Twitter profile for the first time I want them to decide whether to follow or not based on the content I produce, not the conversions I have with other users.

This is a good explanation for me (although I don't like to troll readers, so that's out).  I delete my own replies on Twitter because I like the notion that someone coming to my timeline for the first time can get a read on what kind of content I produce. 

The thing is, replies are just that -- my almost-private response to someone.  Once I know, or can reasonably expect, that they've seen it, I'm good.  If you see it because we both follow the same person, great.  But it's not there for everyone else.  It's just there to reply, and then I clear it out.  Apparently, and I didn't know this initially, many twitter comics clear replies out during the day too.  I think I put out some funny stuff, but it's not all meant as jokes.  Interesting, regardless.

I felt like I needed to post this, to explain why you won't see many replies left in my TL.  The usual exception to this rule is if my reply to a person furthers the point of a previous tweet, or stands on its own as content I'd like to use as an example of what I put out there.

A deletion is not in any way meant disrespectfully to the person I was replying to, and as you can see, it's a legitmate social media strategy.  My reply was meant just for YOU (unless I do the .@ thing).  So once I know you've seen it, I'll often delete, and feed my OCD need for a clean TL, as well as for the reasons above.