Is it really a bad idea to delete an offensive tweet?

Yes, the tweet will live on forever in screenshots, but the act of deletion is a gesture to people who want the tweet to come down.

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Chuck Gose, a corporate communications professional with the digital signage company Stratacach, recently wrote a post arguing that brand managers shouldn’t delete offensive tweets.

In his post, which appeared on PR Daily, he wrote:

I’m all for deleting tweets under other circumstances. You have a typo and you want to fix it, or you accidentally tweet a bad link and need to correct it. There’s no edit button on Twitter, so this seems like an appropriate course of action.

But deleting a Tweet because others have a problem with it causes even more problems. The news doesn’t become the tweet; the news becomes the deletion of the tweet….

If you make a mistake, own up, clarify, provide context or apologize. Anything is better than deleting a tweet, because guess what? It lives.

His article is well-written, well-argued, and worth the read. But I disagree.

Chuck is absolutely right that deleting a tweet doesn’t make it disappear. We can all safely assume that once something has been tweeted, a screen shot of it will live forever.

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