By Princess Jones
One of the best things about Twitter is that you can easily scroll back to see what you tweeted into the world in 140-character-spurts. That’s also one of the worst things about Twitter, which by the has more than 330 million monthly active users and 68 million of whom are users from the U.S. It has a long memory.
If you’ve been on there long enough, you’ve probably changed your mind about some of your opinions, endorsements, or likes. And if you’re a business owner, the public takes your tweets to represent your brand — even if you tweeted five years ago or before you ever had a brand to worry about.
If you’d like to clean up your Twitter history — whether that’s one or two tweets, an entire Twitter history, or an entire account — you have some options to get to a clean slate.
Before You Do It
Before you do it, you might consider downloading your current Twitter archive. You can do that by going to account settings. Scroll down and click “Request your archive.” You’ll get an email with the zip file. When you download it, you can use an HTML file viewer to open it.
Also, remember that deleting a tweet only removes it from your account, your followers’ timelines, and Twitter search results. Retweets of your deleted tweet will also be deleted. But if your tweet was quoted in another’s retweet, that person’s tweet will not be deleted. If your tweets are cached, screenshot, or otherwise featured in other places online, they may continue to be.
Tweet by Tweet
Removing individual tweets is actually pretty straightforward. Start by logging into Twitter and locating the tweet you want to remove. Click the carrot on the right side of the Tweet and then click “Delete Tweet.”
If you can’t find the tweet in question, consider using advanced search. Just place your search term in the search bar and hit the enter key. When your search results show up, click “Search Filters.” Then click “Advanced Search.” Under the People heading, enter your own Twitter profile in the box next to “From these accounts.” You’ll get a list of results that you can browse for the tweet you’d like to delete.
Delete Them All
If you’re looking for a Twitter clean slate, there are several options for you to delete your entire history. Services and options vary by company and new companies pop up all the time. If you have more time than money, there are free services like Cardigan and TweetDelete. If you’re looking for lots of options and legit customer service, you might want to look into paid services like Tweet Deleter and Tweet Eraser.
One thing to keep in mind is that Twitter API (application programming interface) limits access to the last 3200 tweets. Many companies that offer complete deletion will ask you to upload your tweet archive during the process. Others will require you to do several passthroughs of the service depending on the number of tweets you have.
If you don’t care about keeping your followers, lists, or likes, you can go completely nuclear with your account by doing a username swap. Open your current account in a browser tab. Open an incognito or private browser window and start a new Twitter account with a temporary name in that window. When you’re done, go back to the browser tab with your current account. Change your username to something else. Immediately go back to the new account you created and change that username to the one you’d like to start over with. Now your old Twitter account has a new username and your new Twitter account has your old username but no tweet history.
Just don’t procrastinate or get distracted in the middle of the process. If someone happens to take your username before you have a chance to assign it to the fresh account, you’ll miss out on the entire reason for this process.
Also, if you leave your name and bio on the old account, it may still be associated with you. Best to delete the entire account at that point or to at least remove anything that might trace back to you.
Photo credit: Twitter app on smartphone from nopporn/Shutterstock