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Would you use a Twitter correction tool?

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iA-mark-as-error-480.jpgReichenstein's concept for a Twitter correction tool would strike through the tweet with an error, without the ambiguity that an outright deletion might leave behind. (Information Architects)

Twitter users will be all too familiar with this scenario: you've just posted a tweet, and in a moment of horror find that it includes an error. Now it's online for everyone to see. What do you do?

You could delete it, and then re-post it with the correct spelling, URL or other information. But what if that isn't the best solution? What if it looks like you're trying to hide something?

Oliver Reichenstein (@iA), designer for Information Architects, has a possible solution: a strikethrough function. Instead of deleting a tweet outright, users would be able to select "mark as error" instead, leaving it online but struck through with a line denoting an error.

Reichenstein writes that it's more transparent than outright deletion, and leaves no ambiguity to its purpose.

"The only format that clearly states a mistake is a fat strike through. It is a strong answer to any interpretations and accusations that follow," writes Reichenstein. "It clearly says: 'Don't read this. This is all wrong. I take it back. I'm sorry.' Deleted tweets don't say that -- they smell like a cover-up and often make you look suspicious.

"And apologetic follow-up tweets don't have the power to neutralize that screenshot of you screwing up."

iA-strikethrough2-480.jpgA simple copy-paste mistake for a website URL could be marked as an error, with the correction posted afterward. (Information Architects)

Of course, a strikethrough may not be enough to rectify the worst of Twitter gaffes. It probably wouldn't have helped Chrysler Autos' swipe at Detroit, nor former U.S. Representative Anthony Weiner after sending a photo of his crotch publicly rather than via direct message.

Twitter's creative director, Doug Bowman, noted that it would be difficult to implement such a tool, saying most of the site's users wouldn't bother to use it.

"I didn't say I didn't like the idea," Bowman later said. "I primarily expressed concern over added complexity."

"I'll have to edit my blog post with a couple of strikethorughs now! :)" replied Reichenstein.

"For me, the best part of this idea...is it could help stem the flow of incorrect information," writes Regret the Error's Craig Silverman on Poynter. In March, Silverman wrote about what he called The Law of Incorrect Tweets: data suggests that incorrect information on Twitter is read by far more people than the corrections of said error.

Would you use a Twitter correction app such as Reichenstein's strike-through suggestion? Have you ever found yourself posting an error on Twitter, and if so, what did you do about it?


(This survey is not scientific. Results are based on readers' responses.)

Related Link: Top 10 Twitter gaffes of 2011

Tags: Community, POV

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