As long as there has been Twitter, there have been tweets that needed a second chance. Twitter users have begged the company to implement an edit feature for years, but Twitter rarely makes sweeping changes to its platform—with some notable exceptions including the 280 character limit and choosing who gets to reply to your tweets. No matter how many users complained, Twitter never budged, until now. It seems that after 15 years of live blogging our every thought, the edit button is finally a reality.
Twitter dropped the news in a casual tweet on Thursday morning, as if it were nothing. “Oh, this? Ha, it’s really just another Thursday here at ol’ Twitter HQ.” If Twitter ever discovers something significant, like life on Mars or the cure for cancer, I expect the news to be delivered exactly like this.
Snark notwithstanding, the edit button is coming. Soon, Twitter users everywhere will be able to send a tweet, see their mistake, and fix it without needing to nuke the original copy and start from scratch.
The edit button is a Twitter Blue exclusive (for now)
Twitter is still testing the edit button, so it isn’t a full-fledged feature ready to go to the masses. As such, Twitter is choosing two pools of users to work out the kinks: Twitter employees and Twitter Blue subscribers.
Starting this month, those of us who pay $4.99 per month for expanded Twitter features can add the edit button to our arsenal. The rest of us free folk will simply need to wait and stare at Blue users’ altered tweets.
How editing tweets works
When you do gain access to Twitter’s edit button, whether through Twitter Blue’s early access or the feature’s eventual public rollout, here’s what you can expect.
Whenever you send out a tweet, you have 30 minutes to edit it as many times as you want. You can choose the edit option to begin an edit, then publish it. Once that 30 minutes is up, you’re done. Your tweet is out there, edits and all, and can’t be changed. Your only recourse is the same one you’ve always had: deletion.
However, keep in mind every edit is saved to an edit history visible to anyone with access to your tweets. You aren’t hiding mistakes or regrettable thoughts by editing them. Each iteration of your tweet sticks around as long your tweet does, viewable via an overt edit label. If you tweeted something on the controversial side, the edit button won’t save you. However, for fixing quick typos or expanding a bit on your original idea, it’s a welcome addition.
That said, I, for one, am looking forward to how the wonderfully creative users of Twitter are going to turn this system into a meme machine.