Twitter users have been asking for an edit feature for years now, only to have twitter improve upon other things instead. In an interview at Goldman Sachs’ Internet and Technology Conference this week in San Francisco, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey mentioned that Twitter could one day have a clarification button to allow users to clarify what was said in a previous tweet.
The social media app recently updated the amount of characters one could include in a tweet. The number, which was famously 160 characters for years, was suddenly 240 characters. Many users protested the change but eventually forgot. This is similar to how users have reacted to changes in the visual layout of the app as well. Could this mean that Twitter knows what we want more than we do?
“”One of the concepts we’re thinking about is clarifications,” said Dorsey, as quoted by Mashable. The feature would allow users to add clarification to any tweet they feel could be misinterpreted. It would work similar to how the quote tweet feature already does, but it would remain part of the original tweet. Dorsey explained that people are already using the quote tweet feature to give additional context to a previous tweet. The issue, though, is that a quoted tweet often has a lower reach than what was originally said. This would provide an answer to that problem, in theory.
“Kind of like retweet with comment.. to add some context and some color on what they might have tweeted, or what they might have meant,” explained Dorsey. The idea behind the clarification feature is that it would make people feel more comfortable with using Twitter. In an age where you can lose your job based on some heinous hot take you posted a couple of years ago, would a clarification button be the solution to that problem?
Who Is This For?
A clarification feature like this one is in response to people like Kevin Hart, who withdrew from his spot as the Oscars host because of some homophobic tweets that resurfaced from 2010. A clarification feature might be the answer to phenomenons such as these. It’s hard to believe a simple addition could have saved a tweet like this. When people asked for an edit feature, they wanted to be able to fix a typo. Dorsey has been teasing the addition of an edit feature for years now.
Dorsey added that the feature wouldn’t necessarily be something they end up going with. As of right now, Twitter is simply toying with the idea. How would such a feature fit in on a site that’s existence constitutes a focus on Brevity? It’s hard to believe that any user could get much out of a clarification button. If your joke can’t be told in 240 characters or less, maybe it doesn’t belong on Twitter. In the end, though, Dorsey is going to need approval from the mayor of Twitter, Chrissy Teigen, before anything is changed or added.