Back in February I talked about making Twitter temporary. The general idea was that it was one way to take back some control over that part of my digital life but also to turn Twitter into more of a conversation than an archive.
So I tried it.
I used a program called efemr which for a token fee will allow you to set your individual tweets to expire after a set time (which you determine). It uses hashtags to do that, so if you want the tweet to delete after X days you use the hashtag #Xd (where X is the number of days, obviously). You could also have your tweets expire after just minutes (#Xm) or hours (#Xh). It’s a pretty elegant system, really.
But it’s not going to work for me.
I tried. I really did.
I even went back into my account and deleted tweets I’d posted before using efemr (before I got tired of that) so that I would have a blank slate to experiment with. And at first, I did pretty well. I remembered to add the hashtags to my tweets, and I explained what they were and why they were there enough times that I think people understood because they stopped asking, and I was totally good with knowing my tweets were going to expire and delete after a short time. It was liberating, even. But it’s not going to work.
It didn’t take long before I was forgetting to add the efemr hashtag, or hurting my brain trying to figure out how to phrase a tweet in order to give myself the three extra characters I needed for the hashtag. And adding the hashtag to retweets was problematic, but if I didn’t RTs would be the only thing which didn’t expire from my account and before you know it, it would look like that was all I did–RT things. I don’t follow accounts like that, so how could I expect anyone to want to follow me if that’s what it looked like?
It’s a shame, really, I liked the feeling of having expiring tweets, but this particular system, at least, isn’t for me. I suppose I could use a program that would let me easily delete any tweet more than two weeks old or something, but that would require a dedication to this I don’t really have.
Maybe someday someone will create a program which will work quietly in the background and delete any tweets more than a month old (including RTs). That’s a thing I might get into, but for now I’m going to say this experiment is over and return to letting my tweets linger.
If you listen carefully you can hear them all sigh in relief.