I have had the opportunity to play around with Tweetwipe. It’s an interesting webapp with a sole purpose: to delete all the tweets in your Twitter account. It – more or less – does what it says on the tin. There are a few caveats; some by design, some beyond the control of the tool’s developer.
The first caveat is that Tweetwipe does not delete any of your retweets. Personally, I think that’s a decent feature, but not everyone will agree. A tickbox for “nuke the retweets too” would be useful.
The other caveat is that it simply is not going to work all in one go. If you have more than a handful of tweets, the Twitter API will blow up somewhere. Refreshing the page and restarting the process does work.
This second caveat is interesting. It allows for a weird method to map out the load demands placed upon twitter. Some passes would delete 150+ tweets after leaving the tool open for an hour, some passes would delete less than 4.
A bizarre item that I discovered is that Tweetwipe will delete far more tweets/hour if you occasionally refresh Twitlan’s delete tool. The only explanation I can come up with is that since the Twitlan delete tool creates a list of as many tweets as you specify, it must cause twitter to cache all your tweets. This makes them available to Tweetwipe within whatever bizarre timeout limits are hindering its use of the Twitter API.
Overall, it took me about 48 hours to delete ~2000 tweets. That is onerous, and I find the entire concept interesting. What of those who – today – are in their early teens? Making public fools of themselves for potentially years, and then later reaching an age where they would like to erase their past digital transgressions as they prepare for the job market.
Already, there have been numerous instances of people being fired – or even sued – because of what they have posted on social media. That it should be so difficult to “unpost” things in bulk – for whatever reason – has interesting long term social implications.