There's a grand total of zero good reasons to keep old tweets on your Twitter wall. Your tweet history isn't your legacy. It's your personal record, made publicly available to anyone who wants to have a gander.
Who would want to do that?
Well, your future employers for one. A survey shows that 90% of employers consider your social media activity when hiring and a whopping 79% of HRs have rejected a candidate because of what they found on their social media.
What would they find on yours?
Hopefully, you haven't tweeted anything illegal or hateful. But it takes much less than that to get you disqualified in a job search.
Have you tweeted things that might be construed as aggressive? Red flag. Have you expressed a super unpopular opinion? Red flag. Have you badmouthed a previous employer or client? Red flag.
The problem is a lack of context. You might be fully justified in your beliefs and there are clients and employers who totally deserve to be publicly called out. But, it's very difficult to convey the context of the situation on Twitter - it's nigh-impossible to paint a full picture in 280 characters. So you just end up looking like a bitter employee.
Other times, you're simply in the wrong. You might have believed something years ago, which you don't anymore. You might have tweeted something you don't really mean in the heat of an argument. You might have drunkenly broadcasted something you would otherwise never say.
Now, why would anyone let these slip-ups just sit there on their Twitter wall?
Time and time again old tweets have come back to haunt people. Celebrities in particular, since being in the spotlight means everything you do and say is scrutinized. Kevin Hart and James Gunn are some of the biggest names that got caught up in controversy in recent years.
For example, 10 years ago, Gunn tweeted edgy, unsavory jokes making light of serious issues. People dug up those tweets, which almost ended up costing him the opportunity to direct Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. The tweets were pretty damning.
Gunn's resulting apology perfectly encapsulates why old tweets have got to go:
“My words of nearly a decade ago were, at the time, totally failed and unfortunate efforts to be provocative. I have regretted them for many years since — not just because they were stupid, not at all funny, wildly insensitive, and certainly not provocative like I had hoped, but also because they don't reflect the person I am today or have been for some time.”
TL;DR - Jokes grow old and we grow wiser.
After much chagrin, Gunn got reinstated as director for the project. But, you probably don't have an online legion of fans fighting for your cause, so, unlike Gunn, you won't get a second chance.
Nowadays, it's not just celebrities being extra careful. People are growing conscious of the dangers of leaving old tweets unattended. This is reflected in the increasing number of users for tweet deleting apps and tools such as TweetDeleter, which is seeing a 30% year-over-year growth in users.
In 2020, TweetDeleter users erased 205 million tweets with notable spikes tied to hot topics in April (Lockdowns) and June (Black Lives Matter). People cited such reasons for deletion as:
The appeal of apps like TweetDeleter is clear: you can automate and customize the deletion process, so you don't get a headache deleting manually tweet by tweet. Plus, you don't have to consider deleting your account (and losing your entire follower-base) just to start with a clean slate.
Think of it like Snapchat-izing your Twitter - express yourself without leaving a trail.
We're living in a deeply polarized society ripe with misunderstandings, where anyone can twist or misinterpret your words, so why give people the opportunity?
At the end of the day, deleting your tweets is a preventive endeavor. You'll never know what disaster you may or may not have avoided. But if a single tweet can cost you a dream job, a career opportunity, a friendship, why take the chance?
Let people get to know you based on who you are, not who you were.
All that said, I understand the reluctance. After all, your Twitter wall is a tapestry of your opinions, emotions, and ideas and their evolution over the years. Throwing it all out can feel like burning a photo album. But here's the thing - apps like TweetDeleter have archiving functionalities, so you can save the tweets you delete to browse privately whenever you feel like it.
So no excuses. Go and take back some of your digital privacy right now by deleting your old tweets!