If I had Spirit activated, that tweet could disappear forever. Similar to how Snapchat deletes photos after a couple of seconds, Spirit will automatically delete tweets when users mark them with the proper hashtag.
Pierre Legrain, the developer behind Spirit, said that his project isn't really an app or even an extension. "It's an invisible piece of software, like an enhancement to Twitter," he told ABC News. "You don't have to download anything and will work from wherever you tweet from."
Legrain was inspired by how users turn to Twitter as an immediate form of sharing information and don't often think of the permanence of their tweets. "There's no real reason that a lot of the stuff that's shared needs to hang around."
For example, Legrain points to a lot of the location-related tweets. "If I tell you I'm at a certain restaurant, you can meet me there." But come a day later, that tweet is rendered meaningless to virtually everyone but the user.
Spirit currently has a waitlist, as Legrain is still running some tests before it's accessible to the Twitter populace. "I want to make sure it works 100 percent, that users have a good experience when they sign on."
Once off the waitlist, users will need to authorize Spirit to access their tweets. After that, all tweets that are marked with a short hashtag are scheduled for deletion. The minimum time until a tweet's deletion is one minute, though users can customize that time with the hashtag.
|"There's no real reason that a lot of the stuff that's shared needs to hang around."|
Legrain purposefully made the hashtags as short as possible to not impose too much on the 140 character limit of a tweet. "It's m for minutes, h for hours, and d for days," he said. "Twitter has some implicit decay built into it, but Spirit makes it explicit."
While he doesn't see too much overlap between his hashtags, he doesn't rule it out. "I guess for One Direction fans that use the hashtag #1d, that's not going to work the way they think," he said. "It's a funny thing to think about."
For tweets, out of sight doesn't always equal out of mind. Nothing prevents a person from snapping a photo of a tweet. As many celebrity scandals can attest to, a screenshot lasts forever.