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Inbound Marketing Blog

    Evanescence and Social Media: Tweets with Expiration Dates

    Posted by Michael Dooley

    Spirit For Twitter Software Automatically Deletes Tweets

    Former Twitter developer Pierre Legrain, has launched a new project with Spirit, an extension of the Twitter application. Spirit is a piece of “invisible software” meaning there is nothing to download, and after syncing with your Twitter account it will work from wherever you tweet. Spirit allows users to create time-sensitive tweets that delete themselves automatically based on a hashtag. For example users can type “#2d” for the tweet to expire in two days, “#2h” to expire in two hours, or “2m” to expire in two minutes.

    The Twitter extension adds a Snapchat-like functionality to the social network, and can change the way many people post of Twitter. Pictures will likely be an area of Twitter that users put Spirit to use on most. Users can set expirations on Twitpics so that only their most important or favorite pictures are archived, and the random pictures that eventually become irrelevant can be deleted. However, users will have to keep in mind that their pictures are still open to the public before they are deleted.


    • Permanence and Relevance - Generally when people use Twitter, they think of it as if they are shouting out their thoughts into a black hole of information. Someone may tweet something because they don’t want it staying up on their Facebook wall, but they don’t realize that old tweets are very simple to dig up. Spirit for Twitter helps in this situation because allows your tweets to be temporary. Posts that won’t be relevant the next day, or don’t hold the value to be saved, can be set up to delete themselves.

    • Conversation - Spirit’s invisible software opens up a new way for people to communicate on Twitter, allowing for casual conversations that expire. If you simply want to tell a friend where to meet you, or ask about making plans, you can set a very short expiration on your tweets. Since all of your tweets will have an expiration date on them, they won’t hang around on your timeline past the time of their value.

    • Marketing - The expiring tweet can also be put to use as a marketing tool, because its timeliness creates a powerful call-to-action. Marketers can easily run contests asking audiences to respond to tweets before their expiration. There are also opportunities for simple one-time giveaways, live event promotion, and audience engagement.


    • Guaranteed Deleting is Impossible - You’ve probably heard the phrase “once you post something on the Internet, it’s there for good,” which is generally a true statement. Even though Spirit deletes your tweets automatically, it can’t fully guarantee your deleted tweets are completely erased. Once a tweet is posted, it is open to be copied, snapped in a screenshot, or saved another way. The functionality of Spirit deleting tweets has no issues, but users will still want to remain careful of what they post and be wary of who may see it.

    • Overlap - It appears that this won’t be much of an issue for Spirit, however there are some cases where the hashtag commands could be used accidentally. Users that are tweeting about a countdown to something, or something they are waiting for, could accidentally set a tweet to disappear when they didn’t mean to. This will just require that users are careful with the nomenclature they use on Twitter. If they are tweeting about the movie premiere they are waiting for they will want to make sure to hashtag “2hours” instead of “2h” or else they will see their tweet disappear on accident.


    The Bottom Line

    Spirit for Twitter brings a new approach and functionality to the social network, providing more control over what people see and for how long. Users will have to be careful not to be too overconfident with the software’s security, and understand that anything posted on the Internet can be stored. Ultimately though, Spirit provides creative, fun, and alternative use to an already powerful social network. As the software develops, the usage and purpose will likely adapt as well.

     Twitter for Business

    image credit: Idea go/freedigitalphotos.net

    Topics: Social Media