Where’s my undo? Or: How to learn a lesson in under 140 characters

Diane and I were out for a walk last night, discussing the day’s events. As we were talking, I suddenly remembered that I had to arrange a call with a mentor — more accurately, I had to ask my assistant to arrange the call, since significant calendar negotiation will be required.

I didn’t want to forget the task (especially since I’d already forgotten to do it when the opportunity first arose due to the other 40 things I was doing at the time), so I quickly sent an SMS to Twitter to cause Sandy to send me a reminder this morning.

Unfortunately, I forgot to preface the SMS with “D S” — so instead of being a direct message to Sandy, it went onto my public timeline. I realized this almost immediately and resent the message properly; then, I went on to Twitter to remove the inadvertent tweet.

It wasn’t there. For some reason, the SMS-to-Twitter channel wasn’t working. And it’s hard to undo something which hasn’t quite happened yet.

I kept looking, but the tweet hadn’t appeared by the time I was ready for bed. So I did the only other thing I could think of — I queued up another tweet in hopes that the wrong one would only be visible for a few seconds.

This morning, I awoke to find two messages on Facebook commenting on my error (I have my tweets echoed to my Facebook status, don’t you?). I went onto both Facebook and Twitter and expunged the accidental message…and when I got to work, I did remember to ask my assistant to set up the appointment.

Lessons learned:

  • It’s far too easy to omit the “D S” from a tickler request and make it public
  • Be careful of what goes onto a tickler request, just in case someone else sees it
  • Perhaps it would be better to use the email interface to Sandy instead, since the worst that can happen is a misdirected note instead of publication
  • Edsel Murphy is alive and well
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3 Responses to Where’s my undo? Or: How to learn a lesson in under 140 characters

  1. epc says:

    Of course, deleting from twitter doesn’t delete from summize search.twitter.com (see http://search.twitter.com/search?q=davidsinger)

  2. David says:

    When they were trying to scare us with “permanent records” in school, they had NO idea what “permanent” really was.

  3. epc says:

    At least Google has yet to put together a project to digitize all of those pre-DASD is cheap punch cards with my permanent record on them.