Twitter is the place where we type our thoughts, click Tweet and get on with our day. The platform doesn’t yet have an Edit button, which means once we send a Tweet it’s pretty much out there for all to see. Unless we delete it of course…or so we think. Once a Tweet has been posted it means that other users can screenshot/retweet and save them, which means even if we delete our Tweets they may not be as gone as we think.
Twitter is a platform that encourages users to tweet their thoughts when and wherever they think them as well as encouraging instant conversation between users. It’s fair to say that as we get older, our interests may change slightly – if not a lot. The same can be said for the things we may tweet about.
Have you ever looked at an old Facebook memory or Tweet and thought what on earth was I thinking?
What about if your old tweets affected your job now?
This year has seen an influx of old tweets resurfacing from celebrities, YouTubers, directors and influencers.
Take writer-director of Guardians of the Galaxy, James Gunn. Gunn was recently fired by Disney for posting offensive tweets back in 2009/10. The tweets were resurfaced by far-right Twitter supporters and led to Disney making the decision to axe Gunn. Walt Disney Studios Chairman, Alan Horn spoke to The Hollywood Reporter: “The offensive attitudes and statements discovered on James’s Twitter feeds are indefensible and inconsistent with our studio’s values…”.
YouTuber, Jack Maynard was also thrown into the spotlight for old tweets that he had posted when he was 16 years old. As a result, Maynard was axed from the reality TV show, ‘I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here!’ after just a day of being on the show.
Most recently, YouTuber, Laura Lee has had tweets resurface from 2012.
Lee has since issued an apology for the tweets.
Stormzy, Maya Jama and YouTuber Zoella are just a few of the others who have had old tweets resurfaced.
An article from the Telegraph, states that “research shows that teenage brains are more willing to take risks, and think less about the dangers and long-term consequences of actions.”
Of course, age or any other factor does not excuse racist, homophobic or offensive comments.
However, should we really punish a person for the rest of their live because of a tweet they posted 7, 8, 9 years ago? The consequences of bringing up old tweets can have detrimental effects on an individual and even go as far as ruining their career, which should be taken into consideration when resurfacing old tweets.
That being said, we should 100% take responsibility for the things we say and post online.
However, social media is always evolving and it is used completely differently today than the way it was used back when it was introduced.
I think many early users of Facebook and Twitter used the platforms openly and did not think through what their actions and words could later do in the future or even the power that social media would hold.
With the revelation of data protection scandals and the new GDPR laws, privacy and data handling has never been more prevalent in the social media industry. Users are more concerned than ever with the information they now put on these platforms and who it is shared with.