I’m glad I did not live in the typewriter era. You have to give it up to those keyboard ninjas that typed out whole novels with very few wayward key presses. Mistakes back then meant losing a sheet of paper and so trying to type fast and hitting an ‘O’ instead of a ‘P’ was not an option.
Also, when you’re typing directly onto paper, exactly like it is with writing, you don’t get autocorrect. You have to think about what you want to type and then proceed carefully to hit each letter in order. If you find out you butchered the spelling, that’s another sheet of paper gone down the drain.
Ink to paper is too much pressure. The editor’s note reads: Readers may have noticed that the Valley News misspelled its own name on yesterday’s front page. Given that we routinely call on other institutions to hold themselves accountable for their mistakes, let us say for the record: We sure feel silly.
Fortunately, in this age of typing into word processors and text boxes, you can get away with careless typing. If autocorrect does not save you from your incoherent ramblings then you can always try again. The rainforests do not have to pay for your mistakes. Life is sweet when your writing will only ever be read on a screen.
I quite enjoy the ‘*’ on WhatsApp. The agreed-upon way of telling your recipient that you know that there’s a typo in your last message and that you know how it should have been written. If the typo was too egregious, the whole message has to be deleted and a new one typed out.
The edit button
However, we are so
spoiled spoilt these days that that’s not enough. We want to be as careless as we want when typing but not have the mistyped message there in our faces for eternity. Or worse still, having to retype a whole message all because of one silly little unfortunate typo. We want an edit button.
Twitter adds an edit button
For some reason the powers that be have been holding back on us. It was only earlier this month that Twitter finally introduced an edit button. Users can now edit their tweets after 16 years of asking.
However, it’s not quite all users that can edit tweets yet. Only Twitter Blue subscribers can edit tweets. Cheapskates like us who won’t fork out $4.99 a month to use Twitter will have to continue with the ‘*’ or deleting of tweets when we make mistakes.
In addition, even if you wanted to pay the $4.99, Twitter Blue isn’t even available in Zimbabwe. In fact, it’s only available in 4 countries, none of which is in Africa. If it were, here’s how the tweet editing would work:
- You would only be able to edit a single tweet up to five times
- All the edits have to be done within 30 minutes of posting
- You would only be able to edit the tweet from the same device that you tweeted from
- You would not be able to edit retweets, replies, or polls
- There will be a pencil icon on the message so that everyone knows that it was edited and when that was done. Not only that, anyone can tap on that pencil icon and see every version of the tweet, including the original you so desperately wanted to bury.
This all sounds reasonable to me. If there were no restrictions on edits, it would become the Wild Wild West in Twitterland.
The WhatsApp edit button
We have held out hope for a WhatsApp message edit button for years now. The feature has been spotted in past Beta versions of the app but is yet to make it to the big leagues. What is the hold up? Only the Zucks can answer that.
This time might be the charm though. WABetaInfo discovered some information in one of the latest WhatsApp betas that shows that the feature is under development. They even managed to grab a screenshot of what it could look like.
Screenshot of a WhatsApp message with an ‘Edited’ tag on a message by WABetaInfo
The only other thing we know about their implementation is that users will have 15 minutes to edit a message before it’s set in stone. After that, you’ll have to revert back to the ‘*’ and the delete option.
Do not hold your breath though. We’ve been down this road many a time before.
A simple but powerful feature
Are you a ‘*’ guy or a delete-and-start-over person? Do you even want an edit button? For all my rambling, I am indifferent towards that feature. I’m neither a ‘*’ nor a ‘delete’ guy. I’m a you-know-what-I-meant guy.