Yesterday, I wrote about the deleted tweet by Sargent Bowe Bergdahl’s father. I wanted to write about Sargent Bergdahl again, and again, discussing deleted tweets, but this time by elected officials as it pertains to Sargent Bergdahl’s release.
This post by Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post absolutely nails it. In the post, Cillizza notes that at least three members of Congress (Rep. Jim Renacci, R; Sen. Thad Cochran, R; Rep. Stephen Lynch, D) deleted positive tweets about Sargent Bergdahl’s release. The deleted tweets were caught by Politwoops, which captures tweets deleted by elected officials. I’ve previously written about Politwoops and the important service they provide.
I did a further look at Politwoops and found even more positive deleted tweets about Sargent Bergdahl, but these came from candidates. As liberal websites have gleefully pointed out, there is no shortage of conservative commenters who previously called for Bergdahl’s release (frequently with criticisms of President Obama included), only to turn around and attack Obama for securing Bergdahl’s release.
As far as I am concerned, Cillizza also absolutely makes the right conclusion: don’t delete tweets. That’s ridiculous. The American public is capable of coherent thought, and regardless of the circumstances, can’t we all be grateful that a POW is home? Instead, send another tweet, adding that you are concerned about what you are hearing about the circumstances of the rescue and have more concerns, etc. There are lots of things you can do without trying to delete what you say, which is so silly, considering how easy it is to be caught. Deleting tweets also goes against one of the major tenants of social media: be transparent. There is not much less transparent than deleting tweets!
This goes back to a broader points: it is almost never appropriate to delete your tweets. The only circumstances under which I think it is advisable is when you make a mistake or say something offensive and delete the tweet as part of an apology or recognition that you did something wrong. I once had a terrible typo in a tweet that made it sound much more vulgar than I intended. I deleted the offending tweet, and in my next tweet, I acknowledged the deletion, saying, “Whoops! I apologize – typo caused my previous tweet to sound vulgar, which is why I deleted it,” or something along those lines. Deleting a tweet in an effort to pretend it didn’t happen is absurd. In real life, you can’t “delete” something you previously said – social media is no different.
Do you think I have this strategy right? Let me know in the comments!